Dem control of Congress spikes junket travel 50%

posted at 3:35 pm on July 2, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Democrats ran on the Culture of Corruption charge in 2006 and gained control of both chambers of Congress on the promise to clean up Capitol Hill.  The Wall Street Journal finds instead that Democrats have used their power to spend taxpayer dollars on high-priced global travel.  Taxpayer-funded Congressional delegation travel has increased by 50% since the Democrats took charge:

Spending by lawmakers on taxpayer-financed trips abroad has risen sharply in recent years, a Wall Street Journal analysis of travel records shows, involving everything from war-zone visits to trips to exotic spots such as the Galápagos Islands.

The spending on overseas travel is up almost tenfold since 1995, and has nearly tripled since 2001, according to the Journal analysis of 60,000 travel records. Hundreds of lawmakers traveled overseas in 2008 at a cost of about $13 million. That’s a 50% jump since Democrats took control of Congress two years ago.

The cost of so-called congressional delegations, known among lawmakers as “codels,” has risen nearly 70% since 2005, when an influence-peddling scandal led to a ban on travel funded by lobbyists, according to the data.

Lawmakers defend codels as necessary research for voting on complicated legislation.  Prior to 2006, lobbyists picked up the tab for many of these flights, but the Jack Abramoff scandal put that practice in extreme disfavor.  Instead of limiting themselves to the truly necessary travel, though, lawmakers have actually traveled more — and we’re paying for it.

Where do they go?  Afghanistan?  Iraq?  Honduras?  Not quite:

Although complete travel records aren’t yet available for 2009, it appears that such costs continue to rise. The Journal analysis shows that the government has picked up the tab for travel to destinations such as Jamaica, the Virgin Islands and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Lawmakers frequently bring along spouses on congressional trips. If they take commercial flights, they have to buy tickets for spouses. If they fly on government planes — as they usually do — their spouses can fly free.

Can you afford a European Grand Tour?  Probably not, but the families of your elected Representatives can … with your money:

In mid-June, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D., Hawaii) led a group of a half-dozen senators and their spouses on a four-day trip to France for the biennial Paris Air Show. An itinerary for the event shows that lawmakers flew on the Air Force’s version of the Boeing 737, which costs $5,700 an hour to operate. They stayed at the Intercontinental Paris Le Grand Hotel, which advertises rooms from $460 a night.

The lawmakers were invited to a dinner party at the U.S. Embassy and had cocktails at a private party at the Eiffel Tower. Mr. Inouye attended a dinner sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association, a U.S. trade group. Another senator on the trip, Alabama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, took a cruise on the River Seine with defense-industry executives and elected officials from Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.

Why not write them and ask if they can send you pictures?  After all, you paid for them.


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And of their leased cars.

AnninCA on July 2, 2009 at 3:37 PM

And the private large commerical plane pelosi has.

upinak on July 2, 2009 at 3:38 PM

If we don’t pay for their travel to Europe and some 3rd world countries, how are they ever going to come up with all of their wonderful ideas for America?

myrenovations on July 2, 2009 at 3:38 PM

It’s not corruption, it’s taxpayer funded bennies. Right?

darii on July 2, 2009 at 3:38 PM

Think of the greenhouse gases…

Skywise on July 2, 2009 at 3:39 PM

lies … lies …
this is the most ethical congress evah …

… of course, it depends on how you define “ethical”

MzeeTamu on July 2, 2009 at 3:40 PM

Okay, *reading* the legislation isn’t necessary to craft good law, but shopping in Rome *is*.

noblejones on July 2, 2009 at 3:40 PM

The swamp wasn’t drained. It was sent on a trip to the Galapagos.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on July 2, 2009 at 3:40 PM

Have they no shame? (rhetorical question)

WashJeff on July 2, 2009 at 3:40 PM

In 2010, it will be time to show Pelosi how to drain the swamp.

ICBM on July 2, 2009 at 3:41 PM

Congressmen need to go to the Virgin Islands to do research on global warming for example. It’s global warming for God’s sake. Where do you expect them to go, Nebraska in December?

Plus Barney Frank needed to work on his tan.

darii on July 2, 2009 at 3:41 PM

Well, their leader is busy having 100 dollar a pound dinners, complete with live performances from rock bands, on our dime. All while we’re trying our best to make our house payment and put food on the table at the same time.

These people need to recalled; every one of them!

It’s high time we, the people, start talking about IMPEACHMENT, not only of this corrupt law breaking President, but of all members of our political establishment that are guilty of high crimes against the people.

Keemo on July 2, 2009 at 3:41 PM

Lawmakers defend codels as necessary research for voting on complicated legislation.

…that they don’t bother to read before voting on it.

cthulhu on July 2, 2009 at 3:41 PM

Lawmakers defend codels as necessary research for voting on complicated legislation.

Hmmmm, how exactly can they claim research when it’s a documented fact that they dont even read the cr@p that they are signing enslaving us with…

doriangrey on July 2, 2009 at 3:41 PM

did this happen in the UK?

moonbatkiller on July 2, 2009 at 3:42 PM

Anyone else remember Pelosi forcing Porkulus through the House before anyone read it so she could hop a plane and fly to Italy?

There are so many ready-made campaign ads the Dems have provided the GOP, that they have no excuse next year to not make huge gains.

Doughboy on July 2, 2009 at 3:42 PM

Economic stimulus?

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on July 2, 2009 at 3:42 PM

Bring back public floggings! Front and center Ms. Pelosi.

Keemo on July 2, 2009 at 3:43 PM

Think of the greenhouse gases…

Skywise on July 2, 2009 at 3:39 PM
We pay for the carbon off-sets don’t we?

fourdeucer on July 2, 2009 at 3:43 PM

Who’s paying for the Botox?

SouthernGent on July 2, 2009 at 3:43 PM

We’re way past this type of story, in my opinion. The unfairness of gov’t keeping their luxury car leases, their staff, etc., is obscene.

You are cutting disability payments? HELLO?

And these are so-called Democrats, dedicated to people?

It has reached the place of sheer obscenity.

Even on healthcare, pardon me.

But if they don’t pass a public option, then they need to join whatever lame program they DO pass.

I mean that.

AnninCA on July 2, 2009 at 3:43 PM

They are all living like Royalty while the rest of the country suffers. We need term limits. BTW, what ever happened to that little problem Nan had with the CIA?

d1carter on July 2, 2009 at 3:44 PM

That’s because the political elite, especially in the Democrat party have a massive sense of entitlement. In a way they see themselves as a political aristocracy set above us middle class surfs with the right to indulge in a federal tax dollar fueled largess to the detriment of the people they believe it is their birthright to rule.

Dreadnought223 on July 2, 2009 at 3:44 PM

Actually, this is one area where I am in favor of Congress traveling. I would be happy to send all of them to the Great Barrier Reef and even pay for all their scuba gear and hotel rooms … so long as they stay there for two years.

Anything that gets these traitors out of Washington is okay with me. Fly away, America-haters. Fly, fly, fly.

It’s their return trips that really tick me off!

progressoverpeace on July 2, 2009 at 3:45 PM

Lawmakers defend codels as necessary research for voting on complicated legislation.

Hmmmm, how exactly can they claim research when it’s a documented fact that they dont even read the cr@p that they are signing enslaving us with…

doriangrey on July 2, 2009 at 3:41 PM

Why, that would be a logical point, which therefor, makes no sense to a liberal.

Jeff from WI on July 2, 2009 at 3:47 PM

progressoverpeace on July 2, 2009 at 3:45 PM

Great Barrier Reef, hmmmm. Shark infested waters, hmmmm. Scuba gear, hmmmm. Chum Bucket, oh yeah.

I’ll put in for two one way tickets.

PappaMac on July 2, 2009 at 3:48 PM

Look, it costs money to fly places and apologize for US Imperialism. Jamaica just needs a lot of extra apologizin’.

TheUnrepentantGeek on July 2, 2009 at 3:49 PM

Why, that would be a logical point, which therefor, makes no sense to a liberal.

Jeff from WI on July 2, 2009 at 3:47 PM

Yup, does a full blown bloody civil war make any sense to the liberals?

doriangrey on July 2, 2009 at 3:49 PM

Paying Federal Income Tax …… that’s still voluntary, right?

fogw on July 2, 2009 at 3:50 PM

One can only hope they are buying one way tickets
on slow boats to China.

elderberry on July 2, 2009 at 3:50 PM

Oh, the perks of Washington crooks. Grrr.
Let’s just all be good little slaves and keep our mouths shut and our wallets open. Right Pelosi?

Geronimo on July 2, 2009 at 3:50 PM

Well really, if you can’t jet off to Jamaica or Paris for the weekend on the tax payer dime, then why become a congress critter at all? I mean, really. They certainly aren’t in it to serve the American people now.

Spectreman on July 2, 2009 at 3:51 PM

You know, Babs Boxer did work hard for her title.

Jussayin…..

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on July 2, 2009 at 3:52 PM

The Democratic congress pampering themselves as though they were royalty? That’s not news, that’s standard operating procedure for these feckless rumps. Tell us when they’ve done something honorable, commendable, or pass a bill that’s good for the country…or God forbid they do something patriotic, like have a moment of silence for our troops…THAT will be news.

scalleywag on July 2, 2009 at 3:52 PM

doriangrey on July 2, 2009 at 3:41 PM

Don’t ask libs logical questions like that…

ladyingray on July 2, 2009 at 3:52 PM

Paying Federal Income Tax …… that’s still voluntary, right?

fogw on July 2, 2009 at 3:50 PM

According to Dingy Harry, Yes.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on July 2, 2009 at 3:52 PM

Does anyone still manufacture guillotines?

guntotinglibertarian on July 2, 2009 at 3:53 PM

Look, it costs money to fly places and apologize for US Imperialism. Jamaica just needs a lot of extra apologizin’.

TheUnrepentantGeek on July 2, 2009 at 3:49 PM

Good one.

By the way, is this another trollless thread? Except for AnninCA?

Sapwolf on July 2, 2009 at 3:53 PM

They are stimulating the economy………

…..unfortunately, it’s not our economy that they are stimulating.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on July 2, 2009 at 3:54 PM

Sapwolf on July 2, 2009 at 3:53 PM

Yep. They can’t even defend this without us busting a gut laughing at them.

kingsjester on July 2, 2009 at 3:54 PM

We have the government we deserve.

My advice to everyone is chill out. It’s going to get a whole lot worse over the next 3 1/2 years and there is absolutely nothing that can be done about it. Why? Because the repubs are in on it also.

I think the only thing that can save this Republic is a prolonged depression. Counter intuitive I know. But maybe, just maybe if we scrap bottom long enough the vast majority of the electorate will finally, finally, after 80 years, understand the New Deal for what is was. Perhaps then we can celebrate the death of the welfare state.

If on the other hand the markets and the economy start/appear to recover the talons of the state will sink in even deeper. Cap and trade, national health care, global warming treaties, nationalized industries to name but a few of the trillion dollar handcuffs we will all be wearing.

patrick neid on July 2, 2009 at 3:54 PM

AAAAhhhhh….it was only six short months ago that my liberal friends were telling me to STFU about socialism.

The apologies are comin’ fast and furious.

birdhurd on July 2, 2009 at 3:55 PM

Oh please, do you not agree? Whatever healthcare plan they pass, they should also live with?

Come on.

AnninCA on July 2, 2009 at 3:55 PM

When the Republicans were in control, it was like they were alcoholic parents. Now with the Democrats in control, it is like those parents have gone away for the weekend and the teenagers are left alone with an unlocked, fully stocked liquor cabinet.

Problem is, we are going to be the ones with the hangover.

rbj on July 2, 2009 at 3:55 PM

Hey, be fair.

They were just scouting suitable location for the Uighers

guntotinglibertarian on July 2, 2009 at 3:56 PM

What a piece of garbage Senator Inouye is.

This coupled with his illegal moves to bail out the bank he’s associated with.

Inouye deserves a Medal of Dishonor to go along with the other one, that apparently was earned by a far different, less selfish, individual.

NoDonkey on July 2, 2009 at 3:57 PM

Problem is, we are going to be the ones with the hangover

I never voted for GB. Didn’t agree with him at all on much of anything, really.

But I always will remember him for that remark.

So true.

And I don’t blame him, either.

But he was so right. Wall St. went nuts.

And we have the hangover.

AnninCA on July 2, 2009 at 3:57 PM

what a surprise. austerity and sacrifice begins in your home not theirs

rjoco1 on July 2, 2009 at 3:58 PM

we sacrifice,they have luaus and travel.

ctmom on July 2, 2009 at 3:58 PM

The apologies are comin’ fast and furious.

birdhurd on July 2, 2009 at 3:55 PM

Seriously? Libs coming to their rudimentary senses? I’d have thought they would still be hunkering down in Bush Derangement mode.

You must live in the Mid-west, where liberal syphilis is a more attenuated strain.

guntotinglibertarian on July 2, 2009 at 3:59 PM

Oh please, do you not agree? Whatever healthcare plan they pass, they should also live with?

Come on.

AnninCA on July 2, 2009 at 3:55 PM

I do agree with that, because any health care plan that comes out of this clown Congress is going to suck hard.

But that will never happen – Democrats will exempt themselves, just like Barack Obama keeps his kids out of public schools.

We’ll be stuck with their terrible plan for all eternity. It will cost way to much and it will result in a degradation of health care, there is no doubt about it.

NoDonkey on July 2, 2009 at 3:59 PM

I am going to go out and buy a tire gauge and properly inflate my tires and everything will be better.

fourdeucer on July 2, 2009 at 4:00 PM

I am going to go out and buy a tire gauge and properly inflate my tires and everything will be better.

fourdeucer on July 2, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Don’t forget to change your light bulbs.

Doughboy on July 2, 2009 at 4:01 PM

AUDIT THE FED!

Sounds like a great slogan for the upcoming Tea parties.

smartsy on July 2, 2009 at 4:03 PM

Don’t forget to change your light bulbs.

Doughboy on July 2, 2009 at 4:01 PM

Just say NO to CFLs!!!!! What a scam by the lightbulb manufacturers!!!!

WashJeff on July 2, 2009 at 4:03 PM

Necessary for research?

Have these guys never talked to Al Gore.
This is precisely what he invented the internet for.

MarkTheGreat on July 2, 2009 at 4:03 PM

Don’t forget to change your light bulbs.

Doughboy on July 2, 2009 at 4:01 PM
I still think Al Gore should have one of those CFL’s stuck up his butt and made to ride a mechanical bull until Obama is out of office.

fourdeucer on July 2, 2009 at 4:04 PM

AAAAhhhhh….it was only six short months ago that my liberal friends were telling me to STFU about socialism.

The apologies are comin’ fast and furious.

birdhurd on July 2, 2009 at 3:55 PM

-
I will only accept apolgies that are backed up with actions… Protests against the One would be good for starters, or at least a bumper sticker that begs forgiveness on their car. Otherwise, yeah right… Dumbasses.

RalphyBoy on July 2, 2009 at 4:04 PM

Effigies.

Just sayin’

bluelightbrigade on July 2, 2009 at 4:04 PM

I am going to go out and buy a tire gauge and properly inflate my tires and everything will be better.

fourdeucer on July 2, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Yeah, and don’t forget to drop by your Pelosi dealership for one of these : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAqPMJFaEdY

guntotinglibertarian on July 2, 2009 at 4:05 PM

am going to go out and buy a tire gauge and properly inflate my tires and everything will be better.

fourdeucer on July 2, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Don’t forget to change your light bulbs.

Doughboy on July 2, 2009 at 4:01 PM

And don’t forget to paint your roof white.

ICBM on July 2, 2009 at 4:06 PM

Before the collapse of Rome, the Senators took on the popasity and aura of untouchable LORDS over the Roman people. The open corruption, the sexual deviancies, the extravagancies all expecting the Roman citizens to just “suck it up, cause that’s the way we roll” kind of attitudes.

Then, well, you know the rest.

44Magnum on July 2, 2009 at 4:06 PM

If by paying for their vacations we could reduce the amount of damage they do in office, I say money well-spent.

Kenosha Kid on July 2, 2009 at 4:07 PM

guntotinglibertarian on July 2, 2009 at 4:05 PM
“And on those odd numbered Saturdays when you are allowed to drive your car.”
Good One

fourdeucer on July 2, 2009 at 4:10 PM

And there’s nothing we can do about it. This country is now their fiefdom, complete with the American taxpayer as serfs.

newton on July 2, 2009 at 4:12 PM

I am going to go out and buy a tire gauge and properly inflate my tires and everything will be better.

fourdeucer on July 2, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Yeah, and don’t forget to drop by your Pelosi dealership for one of these : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAqPMJFaEdY

guntotinglibertarian on July 2, 2009 at 4:05 PM

Absolutely Excellent!!

Jeff from WI on July 2, 2009 at 4:15 PM

I don’t mind paying for their trip as long as it’s one way.

iceman1960 on July 2, 2009 at 4:16 PM

Starts at $460 per night, I doubt anyone “started” there.

right2bright on July 2, 2009 at 4:19 PM

It’s a good thing that we take care of our elected officials through our taxes while they look out for our best interests./sarc

Sanctimonious jerks. We are the peons and should now our place.

Animal Farm.

shick on July 2, 2009 at 4:22 PM

They want more of our tax payer dollars so they can have more power to put us deeper in our place. Levin is right, these jerks are statists.

shick on July 2, 2009 at 4:24 PM

Waste and corruption flourishing under the Democrats! Politicians wasting tax money and feeding their fat selves at our expense…..who could have ever imagined that the ‘Obumble/Harry Greed/Nancy Pile-of-lazy’ trio would allow such?

HumblyRight on July 2, 2009 at 4:24 PM

Have they no shame? (rhetorical question)

WashJeff on July 2, 2009 at 3:40 PM

No. None. They actually think that while they are spending our money they have the wisdom to solve all our problems.

The trouble is they started our problems and they are only making them bigger.

shick on July 2, 2009 at 4:25 PM

Wonder how many of our representatives were worried ABOUT THEIR CARBON FOOTPRINT while traveling?

GarandFan on July 2, 2009 at 4:32 PM

Freakin’ makes my head explode.

CynicalOptimist on July 2, 2009 at 4:50 PM

Crooks and liars. If you audited these crooks after they leave office you’d find the wealth accumulated on their salary ASTONISHING. Crooks and liars and thieves of our money. It’s that simple.

marklmail on July 2, 2009 at 4:50 PM

Let me throw this out:::

If by some miracle the normal people of this nation get the Democrats out of congress and senate, is it too late to fix the problems that they are creating for us now?

Next Question : How is the Republican party that really has no idea how to do it.. are they going to do it?

workingforpigs on July 2, 2009 at 4:51 PM

I still think Al Gore should have one of those CFL’s stuck up his butt and made to ride a mechanical bull until Obama is out of office.

fourdeucer on July 2, 2009 at 4:04 PM

Some guy at the NYC Tea Party last night had a sign telling Obama to stick the lightbulbs where the sun don’t shine. Awesome.

Fallen Sparrow on July 2, 2009 at 5:08 PM

I never voted for GB. Didn’t agree with him at all on much of anything, really.

AnninCA on July 2, 2009 at 3:57 PM

Care to tell us why you voted for the Democrat Presidential “candidate” in 2004?

Del Dolemonte on July 2, 2009 at 5:39 PM

Won’t these thieves have to disclose their expense accounts at some point?…a good reporter could certainly make his name if they’d go after the story. Can’t think of anyone at this point cranky enough to do it but Helen Thomas. Shhh, let’s start the rumor.

Has Meanshelle disclosed her bills for that little shopping trip with the children to Paris? Isn’t she supposed to itemize play time vs. first lady obligations and pay back accordingly?

24K lady on July 2, 2009 at 6:13 PM

Won’t these thieves have to disclose their expense accounts at some point?…a good reporter could certainly make his name if they’d go after the story.

24K lady on July 2, 2009 at 6:13 PM

A “good” reporter does what he is paid to do…report what the dems want them to report…any reporter taking on the assignment you think they should, would not be a reporter for long.

right2bright on July 2, 2009 at 6:17 PM

Does anyone know how to access these records online or they for viewing only at an office in Washington DC. I have always wanted a look at the records. Thanks

Release on July 2, 2009 at 6:21 PM

The most wasteful, fraudulent and abusive Congress Ever.

old trooper2 on July 2, 2009 at 6:31 PM

Do they get a condom allowance, too?

After all, while they’re screwing us, it really should be safe sex.

guntotinglibertarian on July 2, 2009 at 7:01 PM

Why couldn’t they have been travelling during the Waxman/Markey vote????

lawtwin on July 2, 2009 at 7:01 PM

Does anybody else feel like as things get worse,more people lose their jobs,taxes and costs keep going up while these azzclowns rub it in peoples’ faces that this nation will become a powderkeg waiting for a spark to ignite?And I don’t mean a tea party.

pistolpetestoys on July 2, 2009 at 9:22 PM

Just whem are we going to drain the swamp as the POS said.

bluegrass on July 3, 2009 at 8:23 AM