The Washington Post

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington celebrates 10 years of making politicians nervous

CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan, center, with cofounders Norm Eisen, left, and Louis Mayberg, right, at last week’s anniversary party. (Amy Argetsinger/TWP)

A typical weeknight reception in Washington — open bar, hors d’oeuvres, a media-legal-political-tinged crowd. Wait, what’s missing? Oh, that’s right — the congressmen.

“Ha. No,” said Melanie Sloan, host for the evening. “I don’t think they’d come.”

As executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which celebrated its 10th anniversary last week, Sloan is in the business of suing, investigating and filing complaints against the capital’s most sought-after party guests. Former reps Tom DeLay, John Murtha and Randy “Duke” Cunningham are among the group's more prominent targets.

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Messy stuff, really. Even elected officials who she says support CREW’s mission tend to keep a distance, Sloan said. “We can never have the party where we can say politicians X, Y and Z will be there, because tomorrow they may be in our sights.”

The cocktail party at Lincoln was highlighted by a video montage of Sloan in cable-news spots, delivering rapid-fire judgments of “most corrupt” members of Congress. (As a former federal prosecutor, the talking-head stuff comes naturally. “When you have to make a presentation to juries, you have to do it in a pithy way,” she told us.) And though the group is frequently accused of gunning for Republicans (co-founder Norm Eisen, the U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic, is a former Obama White House lawyer), Sloan told the room it’s a great source of pride that “we get criticism from every side. We get called ‘partisan’ by both sides.”

So how do you measure a good decade? Sloan sounded nostalgic recounting all the ethics charges CREW was the catalyst for, the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of fines. “For all of this,” she said, “the defense attorneys in the room can thank us later.”

Also in The Reliable Source:

Hey, isn’t that. . .?: Chris Santos’s barbeque fest

Mark Sanford asked ex-wife Jenny Sanford to run his latest campaign

Quoted: Michelle Obama on dog fitness

Hey, isn’t that. . .?: Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick; Yasiin Bey; Madeleine Albright and Queen Noor

Judd Watch: Ashley Judd makes the rounds in Washington

Gurpreet Singh Sarin, Maryland college student, ends triumphant run as first Sikh on ‘American Idol’



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
What can babies teach students?
Unconventional warfare with a side of ale
A veteran finds healing on a dog sled
Play Videos
A fighter pilot helmet with 360 degrees of sky
Is fencing the answer to brain health?
Scenes from Brazil's Carajás Railway
Play Videos
How a hacker group came to Washington
The woman behind the Nats’ presidents ‘Star Wars’ makeover
How hackers can control your car from miles away
Play Videos
Philadelphia's real signature sandwich
Full disclosure: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 ghoul
Europe's migrant crisis, explained