Here’s a way to save a little of the Taxpayer money, let members of Congress travel via consumer airlines … coach.
Earlier this week CBS broke the story that the congressional junket (21 people) to the UN Climate change conference in Copenhagen milked the federal treasury of over 1.1 million dollars, including:
- The per-person food and lodging tab, excluding airfare, for 15 Democratic and 6 Republican Congressmen cost $4,406 each, according to the CBS report.
- Congress spent more than $400,000 on hotel rooms, meeting rooms and $1,000-a-night hospitality suites, the story says.
- Airfare accounted for the rest of the tab, between the cost of commercial airline tickets purchased at government rates of between $5,000 and $10,000 apiece ($408,064) and three military jets ($168,351), the story says.
If you think that is bad, as Jimmy Durante used to say, “You Ain’t seen nutten Yet”
The self-proclaimed most powerful woman in the world, Nancy Pelosi wastes money on travel at a rate that puts the Copenhagen to shame. Over the past two years Pelosi has used military aircraft that cost the treasury over $2.1 Million Dollars. According to documents obtained by Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act, the Speaker’s military travel cost the United States Air Force $2,100,744.59 over a two-year period — $101,429.14 of which was for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol. The following are highlights from the recent release of about 2,000 documents:
- Speaker Pelosi used Air Force aircraft to travel back to her district at an average cost of $28,210.51 per flight. The average cost of an international Congressional Delegations (CODEL) is $228,563.33. Of the 103 Pelosi-led (CODEL), 31 trips included members of the House Speaker’s family. That’s right, we are paying for the family to come also.
- One CODEL traveling from Washington, DC, through Tel Aviv, Israel to Baghdad, Iraq May 15-20, 2008, “to discuss matters of mutual concern with government leaders” included members of Congress and their spouses and cost $17,931 per hour in aircraft alone. Purchases for the CODEL included: Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Bailey’s Irish Crème, Maker’s Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewars scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey, Corona beer and several bottles of wine.(see the receipt above).
- According to a “Memo for Record” from a March 29—April 7, 2007, CODEL that involved a stop in Israel, “CODEL could only bring Kosher items into the Hotel. Kosher alcohol for mixing beverages in the Delegation room was purchased on the local economy i.e. Bourbon, Whiskey, Scotch, Vodka, Gin, Triple Sec, Tequila, etc.” Read the receipt closer, they are all brands that could be purchased in the US so the “Kosher” think is bogus. The real question is why are they buying booze on our tab. Granted its not a lot of money, but it shows a reckless disregard for the fact that they are spending OUR dough.
- The Department of Defense advanced a CODEL of 56 members of Congress and staff $60,000 to travel to Louisiana and Mississippi July 19-22, 2008, to “view flood relief advances from Hurricane Katrina.” The three-day trip cost the U.S. Air Force $65,505.46, exceeding authorized funding by $5,505.46.
“Speaker Pelosi has a history of wasting taxpayer funds with her boorish demands for military travel. And these documents suggest the Speaker’s congressional delegations are more about partying than anything else,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
Judicial Watch previously obtained internal DOD email correspondence detailing attempts by DOD staff to accommodate Pelosi’s numerous requests for military escorts and military aircraft as well as the speaker’s last minute cancellations and changes.
In the scheme of things, none of this amounts to a heck of a lot of money although it only includes flights on military airplanes, when you add other transportation, meals, hotels, etc, the total number has to be much higher.
What is most disgusting about this report is the reckless attitude Pelosi has about public funds. The Constitution gives the House power of the purse, all spending legislation has to start in the lower body. As the leader of the House, Pelosi should have a sense of responsibility about her fiduciary obligations to the nation.