Some of the employees of the Hart Senate Office Building branch of the U.S. Senate Federal Credit Union watched money rain from above, in the atrium outside their first-floor office Thursday afternoon.
“At first I thought it was play money,” said Felipe Ramirez, who saw a woman lying on the floor of the building’s atrium, covering herself with one-dollar bills as he returned from his lunch break shortly after 12:30 p.m. A man was with her, there was an open suitcase overflowing with bills, and another female was dumping more money from a balcony a few floors above, he said.
Bayphone Singhavong encountered the commotion around 1:05 p.m., also on his way back from lunch.
Singhavong bent down and tried to grab a few bills from the floor, thinking, “I might get free breakfast for tomorrow,” he said. By that time, Capitol Police were all over the scene, sweeping up the money and beginning to make arrests.
He dropped his riches when an officer told him to put the money down, he said.
Capitol Police arrested three demonstrators — Elisheva Shalom, Elizabeth Croydon and Adam Eidinger — shortly after 1 p.m., according to Lt. Kimberly Schneider, a public information officer for the department.
They were charged with “crowding, obstructing and incommoding,” and taken to the processing facility at Capitol Police Headquarters, at 119 D St. NE.
“The money is real and as part of the demonstration is evidence,” Schneider said in a statement. She did not know the amount.
Ramirez, who works with bills all day, estimated he saw “at least a thousand.”
On January 3, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., raises her right hand as her son Henry messes up her hair while Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., delivers the ceremonial swearing-in in the Old Senate Chamber. Gillibrand's other son Theodore, lower right, looks on.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.