C Street

One of the things from the Sanford presser that I didn’t understand at the time was his mention of C Street. The AP had a piece about C Street a few years ago:

Six members of Congress live in a $1.1 million Capitol Hill town house that is subsidized by a secretive religious organization, tax records show.

The lawmakers, all Christians, pay low rent to live in the stately red brick, three-story house on C Street, two blocks from the Capitol. It is maintained by a group alternately known as the “Fellowship” and the “Foundation” and brings together world leaders and elected officials through religion.

[….]

The six lawmakers—Reps. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn.; Bart Stupak, D-Mich.; Jim DeMint, R-S.C.; Mike Doyle, D-Pa.; and Sens. John Ensign, R-Nev. and Sam Brownback, R-Kan.—live in private rooms upstairs.

Rent is $600 a month, DeMint said.

What a scam. A bunch of hypocrites getting their rent subsidized by some bogus nonprofit.

Here’s a bit more from the Post:

Although Sanford visited the house, there is no indication that he was ever a resident; when he was in Congress from 1995 to 2000, the parsimonious lawmaker was famous for forgoing his housing allowance and bunking in his Capitol Hill office. But it is not uncommon for residents to invite fellow congressmen to the home for spiritual bonding. There, Sanford enjoyed a kind of alumnus status. Richard Carver, president of the Fellowship Foundation, said, “I don’t think it’s intended to have someone from South Carolina get counseling there.” But he posited that Sanford turned to C Street “because he built a relationship with people who live in the house.”

[….]

The house’s residents mostly adhere to a code of silence about the place, seldom discussing it publicly, lending an aura of mystery to what happens inside and a hint of conspiratorial speculation. In a town where everyone talks about everything, the residents have managed largely to keep such a refuge to themselves and their friends. On a street mostly occupied by Hill staffers and professionals in their 20s and early 30s, some of the Democratic staffers nicknamed it “the Prayer House.” On summer evenings, the congressmen would sometimes sit out front smoking cigars and chatting, but what went on inside stayed inside.

Who would Jesus get to pay his rent?

If it were up to me, I would audit these fuckers.

Update. Here’s a longer article about the group that funds this, from Harper’s.






38 replies
  1. 1
    Matthew Hooper says:

    How do you know it’s bogus? Could be the Iluminati for all we know. Or worse. Iya, Iya, Cthulu Cthulu, anyone? Yeah, that’s it -Sanford’s running for president under the Elder God party. “Why choose the lesser of two evils?”

  2. 2

    All goes to show, it’s not what you know, but who you know that counts.

  3. 3
    Xenos says:

    Back in the 19th century most congressmen lived in boarding houses. The idea of moving your family to Washington DC was unthinkable. Putting a bunch of married men for weeks at a time in a college-dorm like setting led to a very vibrant social life for them all, as can be imagined.

    C-Street is the Neidermeyer version of that sort of thing. No fun, but plenty of mischief going on behind the scenes.

  4. 4
    Nemoudeis says:

    There was a very good, in-depth article written about this organization a number of years ago. It’s much creepier than you could possibly know.
    The article itself was originally published in an online journal called “Killing the Buddha,” but later got picked up and carried — verbatim, I think — by no less than Harper’s magazine.

    Let me see. Ah, yes … here it is.

    It’s a long article; but trust me, it’s well worth the read. I think you’ll find the group’s obsession with authoritarian fanatics like Lenin, bin Laden, and (yes, even the Big Enchilada himself!) Hitler particularly chilling …

  5. 5

    Sounds like the set up for a really bad porno. “Why Mr. DeMint, you’ve dropped the soap…” [Saxaphone]

  6. 6
    Florida Cynic says:

    There was also a lengthy Rolling Stone piece on this that I don’t feel like look for (the Harper’s piece is excellent). These guys are the very definition of theocrats.

  7. 7
    Fabian says:

    An Australian public broadcasting show on our ABC called Late Night Live, had an interesting podcast on the Fellowship. The link is here http://www.abc.net.au/rn/laten.....276547.htm They’re basically interviewing the same person that wrote the article in comment 4 above.

  8. 8
    cleek says:

    sounds like the perfect cover for someone wanting to indulge in a lot of hookers and blow.

    “sin? but honey, when i’m in DC, i live at an all-male Bible study house! and as John says in Ludicrous:15.23 ….”

  9. 9
    Fulcanelli says:

    “Spiritual Bonding”? Heh. Is that what the fundies call it these days? I’d give a year’s income to be able to scan the hard drives or view the ISP server logs on the computers in that house.

    We’re long past the tipping point where it’s obvious that politicians (D or R) in the public eye who persecute supposedly immoral lifestyles and try to legislate their own narrow minded religious beliefs do so out of some form of twisted guilt for their own sins. We don’t need any more examples. Do we Senator? Do we Governor. Do we Congressman? Two-faced assholes, all.

    With this pack of hypocrites, I’d bet good money that subsidized rent is the least of their moral, ethical and probably even legal crimes.

    Hey, but if you’re drunk or out of town it doesn’t count right?

  10. 10
    Warren Terra says:

    I was just popping in to link to Jeff Sharlet’s famous 2003 article in Harper’s, but I see that Nemoudeis beat me to it in the fourth comment.

  11. 11
    jrg says:

    What a scam. A bunch of hypocrites getting their rent subsidized by some bogus nonprofit.

    Ensign I can see as a hypocrite. Even though I cannot stand religion in government (and I’m not really fond of it in general), I’m not sure if all of them deserve to be labeled hypocrites. Some Christians are actually decent people.

  12. 12
    Evolved Deep Southerner says:

    Zach Wamp is a killer name for a politician from Tennessee.

  13. 13
    Jon H says:

    Boy, with Ensign a member and Sanford a friend-in-good-standing, just imagine the depths of depravity they would have got up to if they had lacked the benefit of Christian Values.

    If they’d been forced to live without the sustaining influence of Christian Fellowship, I expect Sanford and Ensign would be involved in something out of the Hostel films.

  14. 14
    Keith G says:

    I thought Cong-folk could no longer pay below market prices on housing, airfare & etc.

  15. 15
    RememberNovember says:

    The Fellowship Foundation, the new Opus Dei.

    Wish Jesus was my landlord.

  16. 16
  17. 17
    Michael Bloom says:

    You do know that “Foundation” is one of the preferred translations of “Al Qaeda,” yes?

  18. 18
    nonymouse says:

    Cleek, I think you meant to quote Ludicrous: 4.20.

  19. 19
    MattM says:

    Just want to third the recommendation for Sharlet’s piece in Harpers, linked above. Really scary stuff.

  20. 20
    Punchy says:

    Is the street really called “C”, or is that the shorthand version of the word that accurately describes the douchebags that live there?

  21. 21

    Hillary Clinton is also a member of this Fellowship. And as far as housing deals go in DC this one isn’t really anything out of the ordinary: Rahm Emmanuel also had a pretty sweet deal of his own prior to leaving his House seat. This really isn’t all that uncommon. I’ll give credit to Sanford for actually bunking in his office while a member of the House. Going to visit some “secret” society house sponsored by a shadow Christianist group doesn’t make these guys any more suspect than the rest of the criminals currently elected to the public dole.

  22. 22
    Jon H says:

    ” Rahm Emmanuel also had a pretty sweet deal ”

    He lived in someone else’s basement. That’s a little different than a bunch of people living cheap in a house owned by… who?

  23. 23
    Woody says:

    C-Street is the Neidermeyer version of that sort of thing. No fun, but plenty of mischief going on behind the scenes.

    Nyuk-nyuk! Great line!

    Is this the same outfit, called “the Family,” that Jeff Sharlett reported on several years ago?

  24. 24

    @Jon H: I’m pretty sure that basement was a little nicer than some old musty half finished project my uncle never got around to finishing (although I admit I don’t know that for a fact.) Nevertheless, my point is many of the people we send to DC ending up taking advantage of these deals offered to them.

    Now if someone wants to make the argument that this religious organization is subsidized by the taxpayers, I’ll go along with that. Because that just means these guys are living in government subsidized housing. I also suspect that many of these same fellows are not all that supportive of government subsidies for anyone else other than the god of their choice. THAT makes them hypocrites.

  25. 25
    tomboy says:

    What would rent be on a $1.1 million place be in DC? Just wondering what sort of subsidy we’re looking at here. These 6 all pay $600 a month. I wonder if that includes food, a maid, a chef, etc.

    $3600 wouldn’t cut it if those amenities are included.

  26. 26
    Comrade Jake says:

    Compare it to the apartment Obama rented. I’m pretty sure the fire dept. had to tell him to leave because it was in danger of collapse it was such a hole.

  27. 27
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    In the meantime, somewhat off topic but then nothing really is with these things:

    Saddam Hussein bluffed about WMDs fearing Iranian arsenal, secret FBI files show

    The declassified interrogation files show that he “boasted” repeatedly about fooling the world about having WMD.

    I remember everyone saying basically “well, if he doesn’t have WMD why wouldn’t he just let that be seen?” And of course there was a very good reason. He was stupid enough to think that Iran was what was going to destroy him and we were stupid enough to prove him wrong.

    And once again, our government at the time was so unbelievably blinkered and ideology-driven that it missed the real story entirely, because it involved thinking that was slightly more subtle than a three-year-old could manage.

    The lesson for us now is to thank your local deity daily that John McCain isn’t President.

  28. 28

    […] a bit more about the group that funds C Street from Jeffrey […]

  29. 29
    Comrade Stuck says:

    The Lord moves in mysterious but thrifty ways. In order to save mo money. I suspect HE gave them fancy public bathroom stalls with great acoustics.

  30. 30
    Sarcastro says:

    Zach Wamp is a killer name for a politician from Tennessee.

    You need to include his nickname; Zach “The Coke Machine” Wamp.

  31. 31
    Ed Darrell says:

    Diane Rehm at WAMU (NPR syndication) interviewed Sharlet. You can listen to the interview.

  32. 32
    Tim F. says:

    Mike Doyle is my critter. He represents the city of Pittsburgh, one of the most Democratic spots of real estate on Earth. I believe that my voting precinct reliably turns in the highest %D in the country. If Doyle does conservative bible thumpers any favors he is hiding it well.

  33. 33
    J.D. Rhoades says:

    I’m pretty sure that basement was a little nicer than some old musty half finished project my uncle never got around to finishing (although I admit I don’t know that for a fact.)

    A friend of ours used to live in a basement apt in DC. The place was gorgeous. There are apparently a lot of folks who’ve turned their basements into very nice rental places to turn a buck.

  34. 34
    Xenos says:

    @nonymouse: Sounds like Credulous 80:08 to me.

  35. 35
    Jon H says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum: “I’m pretty sure that basement was a little nicer than some old musty half finished project my uncle never got around to finishing (although I admit I don’t know that for a fact.) Nevertheless, my point is many of the people we send to DC ending up taking advantage of these deals offered to them.”

    Sorry, but I think there’s a _big_ difference between someone who owns and lives in a house letting a fellow party member use some extra space – regardless of how nicely appointed it is, and some mysterious nebulous organization owning a whole house and turning the whole thing into a cut-rate Fundie Hitler-fan dormitory.

    Simply put, I could see myself in the position of Rahm’s landlord (the Representative for New Haven and her husband), and making extra space in my house available as an apartment, either for the income, or if I didn’t need the money, to help out a fellow Democrat who doesn’t have a District-employed spouse. It simply isn’t that unusual.

    I could not see buying a million dollar house and turning it into a freaking cut-rate dormitory. THAT is very definitely unusual.

  36. 36
    asiangrrlMN says:

    Do they have a secret handshake? Do they each have his own special knock on the door? Ooooh, secret club!

  37. 37

    […] Cal Thomas on the C Street shuffle: […]

  38. 38
    RM says:

    Jesus please save us from the wrath of your followers especially these “Cosmetic Christians”

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