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‘Twas a handful of days before Christmas and all through Washington, not a House member was stirring, not even a Republican.

The members were nestled all snug in their districts, with visions of the House Ethics Committee and the gifts it restricts.

And what to their wondering eyes should appear, but a poem from the panel intended to ease any ethics fear.

Which is a festively rhymed way of saying: tucked into the end of an official eight-page document [PDF] intended to remind federal legislators about regulatory restrictions on giving and receiving gifts, members of the U.S. House of Representatives found a 19-stanza rhyming poem reiterating the guidelines. And although it’s not intended for in-house lawyers, some of these rhymes could be a big help to their employers as they consider whether a member of Congress has been naughty or nice.

So without further ado, here’s a sampling of what members of Congress must (and must not) do, according to the Ethics Committee’s resident poets:

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