But if the brothers’ peccadillos are well known and apparently ongoing, it is less clear that they will have any real effect on Hillary Clinton’s political fortunes. The Homeland Security inspector general’s report on the visa case reserved its harshest criticism for Alejandro Mayorkas, now the agency’s No. 2 official and then the director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, for creating an appearance of special treatment for Rodham and Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, who was an investor in an electric car company to which Rodham’s company steered funds.

The report found that Rodham and McAuliffe both complained to Mayorkas about delays in visa approvals, but there is no suggestion that they broke any laws or regulations in doing so.

Indeed, history suggests that the sins of the siblings are seldom visited upon politicians, “unless the principal person gets dragged into the scandal, which can happen,” says historian Wead. “But usually it isn’t a problem. Brothers and sisters and moms and dads don’t usually rub off on the sibling in power. You don’t get to pick your parents and your siblings and people understand that. The same thing is not necessarily true with a spouse. Think of Geraldine Ferraro and her husband, filing taxes together and signing contracts. Then the politician doesn’t get off.”