Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 2, 2014

Posts in "Member Travel"

June 20, 2014

Don Young Must Repay $59K for Improper Trips/Gifts

A U.S. Representative must repay $59,000 to those who provided improper gifts, as well as be reproved by the House Ethics Committee.

The House Ethics Committee released a report on Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, stating that in regard to fifteen trips and certain gifts, (1) Young violated House rules, and other laws and standards of conduct, (2) Young failed to report certain gifts, (3) Young must repay the $59,064 value of those trips and gifts, (4) Young must amend his personal financial disclosure report to show the gifts, and (5) Young should be reproved for his conduct with respect to his personal use of campaign funds, his acceptance of improper gifts, and his failure to report certain gifts.

Roll Call’s Matt Fuller recaps the report in his articleDon Young Broke House Rules, Ethics Committee Says.

Appendix A of the Ethics Committee report details the nineteen gifts Full story

Records Show Connections to New Republican Leaders

The campaign finance records of the newly elected House Majority Leader and Majority Whip provide a wealth of data on who already has connections into the two new leaders.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has raised over $12.5 million in campaign funds for his principal campaign committee since 2006. The $4.9 million in contributions from individuals is easily searchable by donor name, employer, state, or date, on McCarthy’s multi-year financial profile with a subscription to Political MoneyLine’s databases.

McCarthy’s $6.6 million in receipts from PACs and other committees is also searchable by interest group category, such as Finance & Insurance, which has been his largest industry category over the years.

The records of McCarthy’s leadership PAC, the Majority Committee PAC, also show connections with donors around the country. The committee had almost $5 million in receipts since 2006. His personal wealth and income statements also are available.

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., has raised Full story

June 5, 2014

Congressional Visit to U.S. Citizen Imprisoned in Cuba

Four members of Congress traveled recently to Cuba to visit a U.S. citizen imprisoned since December 2009 in Cuba, a lost closer to home than Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s location.

The four members of Congress met with Alan Gross, 65, at a military hospital where he is currently serving a 15 year sentence. Gross was imprisoned in December 2009 for working against the government. The meeting was arranged by the Cuban Foreign Ministry.

In an interview with NBC, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., stated she thought Gross had lost a lot of weight and is desperate. Lee has visited Gross three times in the last four and a half years.

Gross was a subcontractor for the State Department’s Agency for International Development, working in Havana giving out communications equipment to Jewish groups as part of a democracy project. Gross had been providing cell phones, personal computers, and networking devices.

The May 3-6 trip was paid for by Full story

May 15, 2014

Members of Congress Jet to Japan for Free

Thirteen members of Congress and eight spouses flew to Japan in April on a free week-long trip for a conference in Kyoto, Japan.

The Aspen Institute’s Congressional Program paid over $200,000 to send 13 members of Congress and eight spouses to a conference in Kyoto, Japan, from April 11th through the 18th. The conference was on America’s Rebalance toward Asia: Trade, Security and Resource Interests in the Pacific.

Receiving the gift of free travel and accommodations were Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., and spouse $20,983; Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and spouse $15,898; Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla., and spouse $21,290; Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., and spouse $9,526; Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and spouse $16,774; Rep. Billy Long, R-Mo., $9,377 (did not accept free travel on return trip); Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Calif., $9,070; Rep Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., $17,660; Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., and spouse $16,774; Rep. Patrick Nunnelee, R-Miss., and spouse $18,524; Rep. David Price, D-N.C., and spouse $17,620 (Price stayed another 4 days at personal expense); Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., and spouse $18,774; Rep. Janice Schakowsky, D-Ill., $9,987.

Full story

March 13, 2014

Congress Gets Away With Free Foreign Trips (Updated)

Some members of Congress didn’t stick around Washington during the cold month of February, but they found better places to be on free trips to foreign lands.

The big free trips during February included eleven members on the trip to Israel sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation. Another nineteen went to Cartagena, Colombia, with expenses paid by the Aspen Institute, the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Other members went to Japan, Australia, and Belgium. The trip to Australia for one member and his spouse was worth almost $50,000.

Family members also traveled free. Seventeen members of Congress took spouses along. Two members took their children. Another took their mother-in-law, all without cost to them.

The American Israel Education Foundation covered the expenses for the educational seminar trip to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Tiberias, Israel for Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., $23,982 (including mother-in-law); Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., $12,248; Rep. John Duncan, R-Tenn., $12,529; Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, $10,823; Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, $18,987 (including son); Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif. $21,781 (including son); Rep. Donald Payne, D-N.J., $11,288; Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., $20,886 (includes spouse); Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky., $22,503 (including spouse); Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., $23,177 (includes spouse); Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., $22,800 (including spouse).

Full story

February 28, 2014

Non-Profit Activity Includes Providing Free Travel to Congress

Members of Congress accepted more than $3.7 million of free trips during 2013, the highest since 2003. The trips were mostly paid for by non-profit organizations, many of which have a distinct public-policy agenda.

USAToday analysis of Political MoneyLine data on gifts of free travel to members of Congress and their spouses shows the top travel destination was Israel and the biggest sponsor was a foundation affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee or AIPAC.

View the USAToday article by Fredreka Schouten. View the Political MoneyLine Private Travel database.

February 11, 2014

House CODELs Cover the Globe

Members of Congress regularly travel to other countries for fact-finding and educational purposes, with the taxpayers covering the costs for the worldwide travel.

During the fourth quarter of 2013, the standing committees of the House have reported paying for the following travel.

The Committee on Foreign Affairs spent $194,729 in the fourth quarter. The committee paid $13,340 for Rep. Juan Vargas, D-Calif., to go to Pakistan, Afghanistan, and UAE; $12,403 for Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., to go to Pakistan, Afghanistan and the UAE; $13,463 for Rep. George Holding, R-N.C., to go to India; $10,167 for Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., to go to the Philippines; $12,056 for Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, to go to Bangladesh and the UAE; $5,362 for Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., to go to Pakistan, Afghanistan and the UAE; and $6,542 for Rep. Greg Meeks, D-N.Y., to go to German & Belgium.

The Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence paid for several members to go to Europe, including Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., $7,487; Rep. Michael Rogers, R-Mich., $3,058; Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., $2,589; Rep. Michael Pompeo, R-Kan., $2,589; and Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala. $2,589.  Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., went to South America $13,154. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., went to the Middle East and Europe $16,136.

The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform paid Full story

January 10, 2014

Loopholes Give Free Overseas Travel to Lobbyists and Members of Congress

Members of Congress and lobbyists continue to take advantage of loopholes in the gift and travel rules put in place after the Jack Abramoff scandal.

The “reality is that lobbyists who can’t legally buy a lawmaker a sandwich can still escort members on trips all around the world,” states a new National Journal investigative report.

The report highlights free travel for members paid for by the governments of foreign countries under the provisions of the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act (MECEA), for cultural exchange trips. The report also highlights free travel paid by non-profits that accept corporate contributions.

Full story

November 26, 2013

Rep. Michele Bachmann Takes Son on Free Trip to Israel

Bachmann 1 051613 445x295 Rep. Michele Bachmann Takes Son on Free Trip to Israel

A member of Congress has reported she received a gift of more than $25,000 in free travel for herself and her son to travel to Israel at the beginning of November, along with several other members and their spouses.

The itinerary included staying at the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem, visits to the Western Wall, Siebenberg House, Temple Mount, Pools of Bethesda, the Knesset, Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Mt. of Olives, Garden of Gethsamane, shopping in the Old City, City of Ariel, City of Samaria, Mountain of Blessing, Joseph’s Tomb Overlook, Shiloh, Bethlehem, Hebron, Jordan Valley, Golan Heights, and a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee.

Full story

October 29, 2013

Group Providing Member Free Travel Provided Low Cost Estimate

The non-profit organization provided an estimate for the cost of free travel for a member of Congress to the Middle East that proved be only one-third of the real cost.

The Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce provided an estimated cost figure of $4,065 to Rep. Danny K. Davis, D-Ill., for a free trip to Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar from August 30th to September 6th. The purpose of the trip was to lead a delegation of businessmen and women, educators, and researchers to explore “improving trade relations between these countries and building stronger and better relations.”

After filing the primary trip sponsor form, and taking the trip, Rep. Davis received the actual costs figures and amended his travel forms to state the actual cost was $12,049.

Full story

October 7, 2013

Day Before Shutdown FEC Sought Penalties from Former Senator

craig 013 120111 445x316 Day Before Shutdown FEC Sought Penalties from Former Senator

The day before the government shutdown the independent agency monitoring campaign finance laws went after a significant penalty from a former Senator who is being sued for using campaign funds for personal use.

The Federal Election Commission is seeking $70,000 from former Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, and $70,000 from his campaign committee, for using campaign funds to pay over $213,000 for legal fees incurred in connection with his arrest and conviction on a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in 2007.

Commission rules already treat expenses associated with a divorce or charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, as personal, rather than campaign or officeholder related.

Full story

September 24, 2013

Members of Congress Got $1.7 Million in Free Trips in August

As congressional inaction brings the government closer to a shutdown, new gift reports show members of Congress were adept at taking advantage of last month’s summer recess and receiving almost $1.7 million in free trips during the month of August.

During a paid monthlong summer recess, members of Congress reported receiving $1,668,928 in gifts of free travel, the largest monthly total since August 2011. The gifts covered the expenses of 130 trips by members during August. For the year, members of Congress have received $3,346,611 in free travel paid by outside organizations.

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., reported receiving a $22,230 free trip to Dublin, Ireland, in August. His spouse went along and they stayed additional days at personal expense. Ten other members and some spouses went along. The trips were paid by the Franklin Center for Global Policy Exchange and the Ripon Society, who sponsored a conference on TransAtlantic Capital to Capital Exchange.

Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., reported he and his spouse received a $20,021 free trip to Tel Aviv, Israel, in August. Sixty-two other Members and some spouses also received trips to Israel in August. The trips were paid for by the American Israel Foundation, who sponsored an education seminar.

Full story

By Kent Cooper Posted at 1:15 p.m.
Member Travel

September 12, 2013

Recently Reported House Privately Funded Travel

Ethiopia, Ireland, Israel, New Orleans, California, Czech Republic, Jordan, Mississippi, Guatemala, etc.

FECID Filer Name Destination Sponsor Dates
H6AL04098 Aderholt, Robert B. Guatemala City, Guatemala Fellowship Foundation (dba International Foundation) 8/21/2013 to 8/24/2013

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H2AL06035 Bachus, Spencer Dublin, Ireland The Ripon Society and the Franklin Center for Global Policy Exchange 8/10/2013 to 8/18/2013

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H0CA33117 Bass, Karen Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Aspen Institute 8/8/2013 to 8/19/2013

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H2OH03125 Beatty, Joyce Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/4/2013 to 8/12/2013

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H2MI11133 Bentivolio, Kerry L. Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/10/2013 to 8/18/2013

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H0CA03078 Bera, Ami Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/4/2013 to 8/12/2013

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H0CA03078 Bera, Ami San Diego, CA San Diego Indian American Society 7/20/2013 to 7/21/2013

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H2GA02031 Bishop, Sanford D. Tunica, MS Congressional Black Caucus Political Education and Leadership Institute (CBC Institute) 8/15/2013 to 8/18/2013

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H6OR03064 Blumenauer, Earl Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Aspen Institute Congressional Program 8/9/2013 to 8/19/2013

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Brooks, Mo Point Clear, AL Business Council of Alabama 8/16/2013 to 8/18/2013

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H2IN05082 Brooks, Susan W. Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/10/2013 to 8/18/2013

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H0VA07042 Cantor, Eric Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/10/2013 to 8/18/2013

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H8CA22089 Capps, Lois Amman, Jordan CARE 8/18/2013 to 8/23/2013

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H2CA28113 Cardenas, Tony Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/4/2013 to 8/12/2013

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H8IN07184 Carson, Andre Tunica, MS Congressional Black Caucus Institute 8/16/2013 to 8/18/2013

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H2TX35011 Castro, Joaquin New York, NY ABC News 8/10/2013 to 8/11/2013

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H0RI01073 Cicilline, David N. Prague, Czech Republic The Human Rights Campaign 8/10/2013 to 8/14/2013

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Coble, Howard Asheville, NC NC Cable Telecommunications Association 8/15/2013 to 8/16/2013

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H8NY29032 Collins, Chris Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/10/2013 to 8/18/2013

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H2CA08164 Cook, Paul Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/10/2013 to 8/18/2013

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H2TN05131 Cooper, Jim Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Aspen Institute Congressional Program 8/12/2013 to 8/19/2013

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Cotton, Tom Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/10/2013 to 8/18/2013

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H6MD07160 Cummings, Elijah E. Tunica, MS Congressional Black Caucus Political Ed & Leadership Institute 8/15/2013 to 8/18/2013

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Daines, Steve Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/10/2013 to 8/18/2013

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Davis, Susan A. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Aspen Institute Congressional Program 8/10/2013 to 8/19/2013

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H6CO01141 DeGette, Diana Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Aspen Institute Congressional Program 8/12/2013 to 8/23/2013

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H0WA08046 DelBene, Suzan K. Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/4/2013 to 8/11/2013

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H4PA15087 Dent, Charles W. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Aspen Institute Congressional Program 8/12/2013 to 8/19/2013

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H2FL00292 DeSantis, Ron Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/10/2013 to 8/18/2013

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H4TX10028 Doggett, Lloyd Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Aspen Institute Congressional Program 8/9/2013 to 8/19/2013

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H0WI07051 Duffy, Sean P. Jerusalem, Israel Jewish Community Relations Council 8/5/2013 to 8/12/2013

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H6MN05183 Ellison, Keith Detroit, MI Progressive Congress 8/29/2013 to 8/29/2013

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H8CA12098 Eshoo, Anna G. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia The Aspen Institute Congressional Program 8/12/2013 to 8/19/2013

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Farenthold, Blake Beijing, China Corpus Christi Economic Development Corporation 8/17/2013 to 8/22/2013

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H4CA17021 Farr, Sam Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Aspen Institute 8/9/2013 to 8/20/2013

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H2FL14053 Frankel, Lois Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF) 8/4/2013 to 8/13/2013

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H8OH11141 Fudge, Marcia L. Tunica, MS CBCI 8/15/2013 to 8/19/2013

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H2HI02508 Gabbard, Tulsi Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/4/2013 to 8/12/2013

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H0CA10149 Garamendi, John Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Aspen Institute Congressional Program 8/9/2013 to 8/19/2013

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H0CO04122 Gardner, Cory Dublin, Ireland The Franklin Center and the Ripon Society 8/9/2013 to 8/15/2013

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H8NJ05052 Garrett, Scott Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Aspen Institute Congressional Program 8/12/2013 to 8/19/2013

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Green, Gene Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/3/2013 to 8/12/2013

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Hanabusa, Colleen W. Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation. 8/4/2013 to 8/12/2013

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H2NC13110 Holding, George Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF) 8/10/2013 to 8/16/2013

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H2MD05155 Hoyer, Steny H. Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/4/2013 to 8/12/2013

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H2NC08185 Hudson, Richard Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/10/2013 to 8/20/2013

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H0IL14080 Hultgren, Randy Antigua, Guatemala Fellowship Foundation 8/21/2013 to 8/25/2013

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H2NY10092 Jeffries, Hakeem S. Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/4/2013 to 8/13/2013

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Johnson, Henry C. “Hank” St. Louis, MO Progressive Congress & Service Employees International Union 7/28/2013 to 7/29/2013

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H2OH14064 Joyce, David P. Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/10/2013 to 8/18/2013

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Kelly, Mike Dublin, Ireland The Ripon Society 8/10/2013 to 8/18/2013

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H2IL02172 Kelly, Robin L. Tunica, MS CBC Institute 8/15/2013 to 8/18/2013

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Kennedy, Joseph P. Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/4/2013 to 8/12/2013

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H0ID01253 Labrador, Raul R. Salt Lake City, UT National Broadcasting Company 8/24/2013 to 8/25/2013

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H2CA02142 LaMalfa, Doug Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/10/2013 to 8/18/2013

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H8CA09060 Lee, Barbara Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Aspen Institute Congressional Program 8/12/2013 to 8/19/2013

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H4CA16049 Lofgren, Zoe Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Aspen Institute Congressional Program 8/12/2013 to 8/19/2013

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Lujan Grisham, Michelle Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/4/2013 to 8/13/2013

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H2NY14037 Maloney, Carolyn B. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia The Aspen Institute 8/13/2013 to 8/19/2013

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H2NY22139 Maloney, Sean Patrick Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/4/2013 to 8/13/2013

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H6CA22125 McCarthy, Kevin Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/10/2013 to 8/16/2013

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H2NY06116 Meng, Grace Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/4/2013 to 8/12/2013

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Messer, Luke Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/10/2013 to 8/18/2013

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Miller, George Addis Ababa, Ethiopia The Aspen Institute Congressional Program 8/12/2013 to 8/19/2013

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H0SD00054 Noem, Kristi L. Tel Aviv, Israel The Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas 8/5/2013 to 8/12/2013

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H0DC00058 Norton, Eleanor Holmes New Orleans, LA The Essence Festival Annual event 7/5/2013 to 7/7/2013

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Nunnelee, Alan Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/10/2013 to 8/18/2013

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H8MN03077 Paulsen, Erik Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Aspen Institute Congressional Program 8/14/2013 to 8/21/2013

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H8MN03077 Paulsen, Erik Dublin, Ireland The Ripon Society 8/10/2013 to 8/15/2013

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H2CA52089 Peters, Scott H. Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/4/2013 to 8/18/2013

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H0WI06061 Petri, Thomas E. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Aspen Institute Congressional Program 8/13/2013 to 8/19/2013

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H2NC09134 Pittenger, Robert Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/10/2013 to 8/18/2013

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H6NC04037 Price, David E. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Aspen Institute Congressional Program 8/13/2013 to 8/19/2013

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Radel, Trey Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/10/2013 to 8/15/2013

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H2SC07066 Rice, Tom Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/10/2013 to 8/18/2013

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H2IL01042 Rush, Bobby L. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Aspen Istitute Congressional Program 8/12/2013 to 8/19/2013

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Sanchez, Loretta Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Aspen Institute Congressional Program 8/13/2013 to 8/24/2013

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H4SC01073 Sanford, Mark Jerusalem, Israel AIEF 8/10/2013 to 8/18/2013

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H8IL09067 Schakowsky, Janice D. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Aspen Institute Congressional Program 8/12/2013 to 8/19/2013

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H8WI09050 Sensenbrenner, F. James Tel Aviv, Israel Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas 8/5/2013 to 8/12/2013

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H2TX03126 Sessions, Pete Dublin, Ireland Franklin Center and The Ripon Society 8/10/2013 to 8/15/2013

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Shuster, Bill Dublin, Ireland The Ripon Society 8/10/2013 to 8/15/2013

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H2UT02324 Stewart, Chris Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/10/2013 to 8/18/2013

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H2CA15094 Swalwell, Eric Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF) 8/4/2013 to 8/12/2013

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H4MA06033 Tierney, John F. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Aspen Institute Congressional Program 8/13/2013 to 8/19/2013

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H2CA20094 Valadao, David G. Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/10/2013 to 8/18/2013

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H2CA50026 Vargas, Juan Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF) 8/4/2013 to 8/13/2013

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H2TX33073 Veasey, Marc A. Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF) 8/4/2013 to 8/12/2013

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H2TX33073 Veasey, Marc A. Tunica, MS Congressional Black Caucus Polictical Education and Leadership Institute (CBC Institute) 8/15/2013 to 8/18/2013

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Walorski, Jackie Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/10/2013 to 8/18/2013

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H2TX14149 Weber, Randy K. Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/10/2013 to 8/18/2013

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Williams, Roger Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/13/2013 to 8/18/2013

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H2FL06109

Yoho, Ted

Jerusalem, Israel American Israel Education Foundation 8/10/2013 to 8/18/2013

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By Tony Raymond Posted at 11:51 a.m.
Member Travel

August 23, 2013

Members of Congress Fly Away Free to Emerald Isle on $450K-$750K Trip

The first two of possibly 31 members of Congress have returned and filed a travel report on a wonderful and free trip to Dublin, Ireland, for themselves and a guest. The gifts of free travel were estimated by the paying sponsors to cost between $6,875 and $11,903 for each person.

The vacation time invitees were most of the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives, including the speaker*, majority leader, majority whip, eight committee chairmen, and five subcommittee chairmen.  We don’t know how many invitees actually went on the trip and while invited, the Speaker did not go.

This type of free trip not only covers the members’ expenses but provides a rare opportunity for the sponsor to cover the costs of a spouse or family member. For members who are not home that much, the free trip is a great payback to the spouse. The spouse or family member has plenty of time for sightseeing and enjoying the foreign city.

Full story

By Kent Cooper Posted at 9:41 a.m.
Member Travel

August 6, 2013

CODELs Send Members of Congress to Hostile Environment

Some think Congress is a hostile environment, but two dozen representatives recently traveled in congressional delegations to a real hostile environment in Afghanistan.

Committees of Congress often send members of Congress and staff on government-paid travel to foreign destinations that may help educate members on legislative matters coming before their committee. During the second quarter of 2013, standing committees of Congress have spent $1.2 million on official foreign travel. This figure is higher than normal because Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, now requires members to travel by commercial airlines and report the appropriate costs. When military air transport was used for trips in earlier quarters, no cost figure was disclosed.

The top three committees taking trips were the Foreign Affairs Committee ($396,629), the Armed Services Committee ($324,627), and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence ($222,645).  The Small Business Committee reported the costliest trip — $23,795 for Rep. Steve King’s, R-Iowa, May 28 to June 3 trip to Russia. Full story

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