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Posted at 01:14 PM ET, 11/21/2011

Senate gift rules get a holiday thaw

In a shocking development, the Senate on Friday adopted a change to its rules that will allow senators to solicit gifts. Prepare to see members of Congress brazenly shaking down visitors for valuable goodies within the halls of the Capitol!
Elmo dolls are sanctioned under new Senate rules. (Courtesy of Fisher-Price)

But the senators’ spoils won’t be paper bags full of cash or coveted sky-box seats; think more along the lines of Legos, Elmo dolls and snuggly mittens.

The Senate altered its rules, but only to allow senators and other employees to accept “nonmonetary donations or clothing, toys, food and housewares . . . relating to serving persons in need or members of the Armed Services and the families of those members during the holiday season.”

In other words, they can put out boxes to collect toys and clothes for needy kids, and the change expires at the end of the congressional session.

So relax, ethics watchdogs, and take a sip of eggnog.

By  |  01:14 PM ET, 11/21/2011

 
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