CBS: You won’t believe the costs of Congressional junket to Copenhagen

posted at 10:55 am on January 26, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

How much did the US spend on the trip to the Copenhagen conference on global warming? Enough to melt a Himalayan glacier — and that’s just for the Congressional delegation. The total cost of the 106 people traveling under the aegis of Congress came to over $400,000 for two days in Denmark, thanks to a $2200 per-person, per-day rate at the Marriott. CBS News reports that no one wants to talk about the massive bill in light of American economic troubles:

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Thanks to recently filed Congressional expense reports there’s new light shed on the Copenhagen Climate Summit in Denmark and how much it cost taxpayers.

CBS News Investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports official filings and our own investigation show at least 106 people from the House and Senate attended – spouses, a doctor, a protocol expert and even a photographer.

For 15 Democratic and 6 Republican Congressmen, food and rooms for two nights cost $4,406 tax dollars each. That’s $2,200 a day – more than most Americans spend on their monthly mortgage payment.

Attkisson plunges the dagger when she reports Nancy Pelosi’s official response to the story (emphasis mine):

Pelosi’s office did offer an explanation for the high room charges. Those who stayed just two nights were charged a six-night minimum at the five-star Marriott. One staffer said, they strongly objected to no avail. You may ask how they’ll negotiate a climate treaty, if they can’t get a better deal on hotel rooms.

In the event, they didn’t, of course.

When the travel expenses get added, the bill comes up to over $1.1 million. Commercial flights cost $5000 each, and the three military jets cost even more, around $168,000 for the flight time. This begs the question as to why Congress sent a delegation at all, and certainly one that large. After all, Congress does not negotiate treaties. The Constitution specifically assigns that task to the executive branch. Barack Obama had a legitimate reason for attending, although the premise of the conference is highly questionable. If he wanted to take a couple of Congressional leaders for advisers, that would have been his choice.

But we’re not talking about a couple of Congressional leaders. Among the attendees were:

  • Nancy Pelosi’s husband
  • James Sensenbrenner’s wife
  • Ed Markey’s wife
  • Charlie Rangel (Ways and Means??)
  • Joe Barton’s daughter
  • Jay Inslee’s wife
  • Shelley Moore Capito’s husband
  • Gabrielle Giffords’ husband
  • 31 “unnamed Senate staff” on top of dozens of named staffers

Why did the Ways and Means chair need to go to Copenhagen?  For that matter, why did most of these Senators and Representatives need to go on the public dime?

And most gallingly, why were spouses and family given a trip to Copenhagen on the public dime?  When people travel on business in the private sector, they pay for their spouses and family on the rare occasions they accompany the employee.  Those expenses are not tax deductible, either.  We do not need to pay for family vacations, especially at a time when most Americans have to curtail their own vacation spending because of the economic hardship in the US at the moment.

Jammie Wearing Fool has more thoughts.


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The outright arrogance boggles the mind. They pull this stuff daily, knowing there’s no recourse and no accounting oversight that would require them to pony up a DIME in restitution. Party affiliation is unimportant – any and all need to feel the wrath of the people.

GoldenEagle4444 on January 26, 2010 at 11:55 AM

Assuming they all actually went, here is the delegation of Republican Lawmakers that were sent to Copenhagen.

From the Site: The Lonely Conservative

GOP Sending Counter Delegation to Copenhagen: ‘The Truth Squad’
By Lonely Conservative

Apparently, Lindsay Graham isn’t joining them.

Via Weasel Zippers, Fox News reported:

A GOP counter-delegation is forming to undermine the Obama administration’s work on an international climate change agreement in Copenhagen, warning that the president is poised to make commitments he can’t keep and drawing heightened attention to controversial leaked e-mails. At least a half-dozen Republican senators and representatives are planning to head to Denmark next week, as part of the overall U.S. congressional delegation, which includes plenty of Democrats as well.

But the Republicans have a markedly different agenda.

“Truth squad,” is how Sen. Jim Inhofe spokesman Matt Dempsey described the GOP team. He called the Democratic visitors to the conference the “doom squad.”

The Oklahoma Republican and ardent global warming skeptic plans to head to Denmark along with Sens. Roger Wicker of Mississippi and John Barrasso of Wyoming. On the House side, Reps. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, Joe Barton of Texas and Darrell Issa of California are tentatively planning to attend.

Something tells me that Lindsey Graham won’t be joining them.

Susanboo on January 26, 2010 at 11:57 AM

When people travel on business in the private sector, they pay for their spouses and family on the rare occasions they accompany the employee. Those expenses are not tax deductible, either.

You are absolutely right about this. IF You are even allowed to have your family come with you on a business trip.

This is such an outrage!

KMC1 on January 26, 2010 at 12:00 PM

I “believe” that those family members not traveling on official orders reimburse the governement for the equivalent of commercial travel. Of course they probably don’t reimburse anything for the accommodations since the government official needed the room anyway. And politicians do not share rooms with other politicians.

katiejane on January 26, 2010 at 12:01 PM

Democrats are congenitally corrupt. This is what they do.

spmat on January 26, 2010 at 12:03 PM

Take it out of their paychecks.

The House Post Office Scandal of 2010

pedestrian on January 26, 2010 at 12:09 PM

If Republicans are so against waste then why did the 6 go?

Where were Hotair’s objections then?

Dave Rywall on January 26, 2010 at 11:45 AM

Dave continues the leftist meme, “Republicans/Bush spent like wild monkeys for 8 years and you didn’t have a problem with it then, so why are you screaming about Democrats doing it now?”

Dave obviously wasn’t listening for the last 9 years. Conservatives were not happy with the Bush administration running up trillions of dollars in new spending, and often spoke out about it.

There’s a huge difference between a Republican and a conservative. Anyone can call themselves a Republican, and there are many progressives who do. Actions speak louder than words.

UltimateBob on January 26, 2010 at 12:10 PM

Where were Hotair’s objections then?

Dave Rywall on January 26, 2010 at 11:45 AM

Not much of a reader are you?

spmat on January 26, 2010 at 12:15 PM

I ALWAYS GET A SHOCK/SHUDDER WHEN I SEE A PIC OF WAXMAN AND GET REMINDED OF HOW HIDEOUS LOOKING HE IS…

Ltlgeneral64 on January 26, 2010 at 12:15 PM

Not much of a reader are you?

spmat on January 26, 2010 at 12:15 PM

Is the reading the problem, or the comprehension?

Both sides should be ashamed of this. In these dire times, people losing jobs, and the economy waiting for that final flush down the toilet….they take a trip, that was unwarranted, and then invite a spouse, or family member to join them? Sounds like free vacations to me, and it’s disgusting.

I hope your constituents remember this, when it’s time to vote, and say…we’re giving you all permanent vacations.

capejasmine on January 26, 2010 at 12:23 PM

I’ll allow Henry Waxman to use public funds for personal use only if it’s to do us all a favor and purchase paper bags with which to cover his face.

D2Boston on January 26, 2010 at 12:23 PM

I don’t think we taxpayers could ever escape footing this bill. So I’d like to see objectively verifiable evidence that every person that we paid for actually did some useful work.

snaggletoothie on January 26, 2010 at 12:27 PM

Wasn`t it worth the money just to get this list of fools?

Someday someone will make a “Global Warming Hall of Shame” monument (I suggest for the design a 30-foot ice-berg shaped monument topped with an ostrich with its head stuck up its back side and piles of money falling from its pockets) and this list of Congressional delegation losers (along with many other government officials and scientists around the world) have their names engraved on the monument.

albill on January 26, 2010 at 12:31 PM

Remember all this in November because we will be smothered this year with promises, screams, tears, anger, lies and you name it and they will do it, FOR YOU. Careful who you vote for.

mixplix on January 26, 2010 at 12:31 PM

Well gee Ed, it’s not like they used taxpayer monies to fund some business conference in Las Vegas!
/s

Texas Gal on January 26, 2010 at 12:32 PM

AN OPEN LETTER TO EVERYONE ON THIS TRIP BUT ESPECIALLY PELOSI:

Your junket to Copenhagen was the most outrageous squandering of MY money that I can imagine! This money was stolen from my tax dollars and your theft should be prosecuted; the money involved is grand theft! How dare you, HOW DARE YOU??? IF you have ANY integrity you will personally reimburse the cash. Your presence there was in NO way necessary and you certainly know it; even more so for spouses and “hangers-on.” YOU ARE A DAMNED THIEF! Apparently you are beneath shame; you are certainly beneath contempt for this criminal wasting of tax dollars that should have been used for valid purposes. In plain language, just what the f**k is wrong with you and how do you possibly believe you have the right to these ill-gotten gains??? You are an utter embarrassment to every citizen of this great nation!!!

jgdp on January 26, 2010 at 12:32 PM

WOW THIS HAS NEVER EVER EER EVER HAPPENED BEFORE
Dave Rywall on January 26, 2010 at 10:53 AM

Were you afraid we missed this pearl of wisdom in the other thread? So proud of your rapier wit and incisive commentary on the topic you felt you’d double down?

omg omg omg this has never ever happened before
Dave Rywall on January 26, 2010 at 11:16 AM


It was every bit as compelling and probative the second time, Davey.

Let’s be clear on this: only Democrats do this. Those 6 Republicans along for the ride don’t count.
Dave Rywall on January 26, 2010 at 11:24 AM

You mean the six Republicans mentioned in the story, by JWF, by Ed and by the quoted posts below?

No matter how much time you spend banging your tiny fists and insisting nobody made mention, as usual your argument runs afoul of the facts:

From the CBS story linked and quoted by Ed:
For 15 Democratic and 6 Republican Congressmen, food and rooms for two nights cost $4,406 tax dollars each. That’s $2,200 a day – more than most Americans spend on their monthly mortgage payment.

And some idiot Republicans were on the trip, too. Nice bi-partisanship there!
SouthernGent on January 26, 2010 at 11:03 AM

I’m amazed it hasn’t been stressed yet that ‘Republicans did it/were there, too.’ I guess I should give that more time.
Damned crooks, the whole lot of ‘em.
Liam on January 26, 2010 at 11:15 AM

I just checked, and he was. I was ticked when I saw that six GOPers were there as well. Then I remembered that Inhofe, for one, went over there to inform the global community that not every American buys into this. I recognized Marsha Blackburn’s name (R-TN), but I couldn’t identify the other Republicans.
BuckeyeSam on January 26, 2010 at 11:16 AM

I made sure to stress the contempt I have for the Republicans who attended in my piece and Ed did note several names. The CBS story also mentions six Republicans attended.
JammieWearingFool on January 26, 2010 at 11:19 AM

And you follow up these comments along with JWF’s very clear statement that: “By the way, I have just as much contempt for the Republicans wasting our money on this fiasco.” by trying to pretend everybody here was sweeping the Republican contingent’s attendance under the rug. There was mention that Inhofe went as a voice of opposition but the attendance of all at such and exorbitant price tag was roundly criticized.

Your need to construct these ridiculous strawmen is understandable; the quality of argument you generally construct fares much better against weak arguments not employed by your opponents but rather posed by you and keeping your own limitations in mind. However it is notable and amusing that in this argument you construct one strawman then another and don’t even try to topple them.

You are truly a Socratic wonder.

RDuke on January 26, 2010 at 12:35 PM

AGW = Absurd Government Waste

dont taze me bro on January 26, 2010 at 12:36 PM

I “believe” that those family members not traveling on official orders reimburse the governement for the equivalent of commercial travel. …
katiejane on January 26, 2010 at 12:01 PM

Yeah, like that will ever happen. Since there is no public accounting for how many politicians go on these boondoggles, where is the mechanism to ensure that their family members pay us back?

KrisinNE on January 26, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Let’s be clear on this: only Democrats do this. Those 6 Republicans along for the ride don’t count.

Dave Rywall on January 26, 2010 at 11:24 AM

I missed it. Which poster said the Republicans didn’t count?

Yoop on January 26, 2010 at 11:27 AM

Hm-m-m, over an hour and still Rywall hasn’t supplied the post that said the Republicans didn’t count. Why is that?

Yoop on January 26, 2010 at 12:44 PM

RDuke on January 26, 2010 at 12:35 PM

Excellently stated! +1 trillion (assuming the debt ceiling can be raised!)

As I imagine Drywall reading your comment, I can’t help but think of the scene in “A Few Good Men” when Kevin Bacon lays out the case against the 2 Marines and Tom Cruise is so shell-shocked that his only response is, “you’re a lousy [expletive] softball player”.

DOOF on January 26, 2010 at 12:46 PM

Hm-m-m, over an hour and still Rywall hasn’t supplied the post that said the Republicans didn’t count. Why is that?

Yoop on January 26, 2010 at 12:44 PM

He’s still coughing from that last bong hit. I’m sure he’ll get around to responding as soon as the smoke clears.

UltimateBob on January 26, 2010 at 12:50 PM

So all of these clowns and everyone else in government is in the same building
Wednesday night?
We ought to storm the Capitol, barricade the doors and cut the power until 2012. No more junkets, no HC reform, no new spending, no Crap and Trade, to quote The Beach Boys, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”.

ontherocks on January 26, 2010 at 12:57 PM

I keep telling you guys: you have the wrong end of this issue. Junkets are a good thing, and we should encourage them to the extent possible.

Regards,
Ric

warlocketx on January 26, 2010 at 1:01 PM

Remember all this in November because we will be smothered this year with promises, screams, tears, anger, lies and you name it and they will do it, FOR YOU. Careful who you vote for.

mixplix on January 26, 2010 at 12:31 PM

You mean campaign Ob*ma 2.0 will be released soon?

Electrongod on January 26, 2010 at 1:05 PM

In addition to these guys, how many state governments sent delegations to Copenhagen on the various state taxpayers dime?
Governor Gregoire of Washington went (don’t know how many staff or legislators with her). When asked why she was going its reported she said something to the effect that Copenahagen was the only place she could meet ‘green’ industry business leaders doing business with the state.
The state of Washington has something like a $2 billion unfunded deficit.

mjzman on January 26, 2010 at 1:07 PM

Susanboo on January 26, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Excellent comment! Next time could you include a link? I wish Ed would include this in an update–it is not fair to smear the Repubs…

lovingmyUSA on January 26, 2010 at 1:08 PM

Obviously they didn’t go thru Bill Shatner to try and get a better deal.

Del Dolemonte on January 26, 2010 at 1:17 PM

omg omg omg this has never ever happened before

Dave Rywall on January 26, 2010 at 11:16 AM

You’re right. It hasn’t.

If it had happened before, you wouldn’t be spinning like a top wearing red and green suspenders.

Del Dolemonte on January 26, 2010 at 1:20 PM

Dave Rywall on January 26, 2010 at 11:45 AM

Dave can whine all he wants about the “6″ Republicans.

Does not change the fact that the overwhelming majority that are ripping us off are the same liberals who promised everybody “Hope and Change”.

….That is what liberals campaigned on for 2 years….
……I don’t remember any Obama speeches where he stated:

“Well Bush did it…so we will to!!”….

…….no..liberals kept telling everybody how they were going to bring “change” to Capital Hill.

….So far instead of bringing “change” and competent solutions….all the democrats have done is “whine and blame Bush!!”.


…..The bottom line here is who bears the responsibility for allowing this rip-off of the American people.Who allowed our elected leaders trying to push this liberal fraud of “Man Made Global Warming” to go on this tax payer funded junket…….

………well let’s let Obama tell us where the responsibility lies:


For ultimately, the buck stops with me. … When the system fails, it is my responsibility.”

Barack Obama

That’s right drywall….
…….just like everything that happened on Bush’s watch was deemed his responsibility by liberals day in and day out…..the same applies here.

Baxter Greene on January 26, 2010 at 1:21 PM

You mean even Henry Waxman was there? No wonder the conference broke up early and everyone bailed.

gary fouse on January 26, 2010 at 1:24 PM

I ALWAYS GET A SHOCK/SHUDDER WHEN I SEE A PIC OF WAXMAN AND GET REMINDED OF HOW HIDEOUS LOOKING HE IS…

Ltlgeneral64 on January 26, 2010 at 12:15 PM

Yeah, he’s a dead ringer for the elusive “Bat Boy” of Weekly World News fame. Waxman – sired by Bat Boy.

MayorDaley on January 26, 2010 at 1:36 PM

You can send supposed Republican Joe Barton an email here and ask him about his daughter going and why the taxpayer is picking up that one.

michaelo on January 26, 2010 at 1:41 PM

I’d bet it’d be a lot cheaper to just put them all in Guantanamo.

JEM on January 26, 2010 at 1:50 PM

“For 15 Democratic and 6 Republican Congressmen”.

And the Republicans want to get some credibility back? Well if they keep this up it will never happen. All you need is one Republican to vote for Tarp or a couple ripping off the taxpayers on an unneeded junket to make the Democrats look like they are about even when it comes to fiscal responsibilities.
When will the Republicans ever learn?

SGinNC on January 26, 2010 at 1:58 PM

In fact,I had just canceled my vacation plans when I read this, so you can imagine the warm and fuzzy feeling it gave me.

Grrr….

irishspy on January 26, 2010 at 2:06 PM

Pelosi’s office did offer an explanation for the high room charges. Those who stayed just two nights were charged a six-night minimum at the five-star Marriott. One staffer said, they strongly objected to no avail. You may ask how they’ll negotiate a climate treaty, if they can’t get a better deal on hotel rooms.

I think we need a constitutional amendment to put William Shatner in charge of the congressional travel budget.

Stephen Macklin on January 26, 2010 at 2:07 PM

When will the Republicans ever learn?

SGinNC on January 26, 2010 at 1:58 PM

The 12th of Never, it seems.

Liam on January 26, 2010 at 2:15 PM

I ALWAYS GET A SHOCK/SHUDDER WHEN I SEE A PIC OF WAXMAN…

Ltlgeneral64 on January 26, 2010 at 12:15 PM

At least he avoiding sticking us with charges for extra luggage since he always can fit all his bags inside his nose comfortably.

ya2daup on January 26, 2010 at 2:24 PM

Ed, I think it’s important to stipulate that Sen. Jim Inhofe, the Darth Vader of climate-change opposition, went to Copenhagen, not with Pelosi’s chosen ones, but by commercial airline, on his own dime (9 hours each way) and only spent three hours there (no hotel bill on the taxpayer’s dime).

Of course, for that insubordination, he was crucified as a retrograde idiot by the European press, on leftist blogs, and by Pelosi herself — but, hey, what else is new?

Since the IPCC’s director, and the group’s latest report, is currently in the process of disintegration, it appears that Inhofe will have the last laugh.

Nichevo on January 26, 2010 at 2:25 PM

Unreal… I know that I can’t afford a vacation any time soon..
Weren’t they just beeaching about CEO’s of companies jet setting?

reshas1 on January 26, 2010 at 2:47 PM

Hey It is going to make for some good commercials! Hope you enjoyed it Nancy; the end for you is near.

Dire Straits on January 26, 2010 at 2:51 PM

You may ask how they’ll negotiate a climate treaty, if they can’t get a better deal on hotel rooms.

That hit the nail on the head, total incompetence.

la.rt.wngr on January 26, 2010 at 3:25 PM

That’s a lot of money to pay for a failed conspiracy in furtherance of Fraud.

RadClown on January 26, 2010 at 3:47 PM

Did anyone get the irony of Waxman complaining that it was cold there at the Global Warming Summit????????

flytier on January 26, 2010 at 3:54 PM

Galling is an understatement! These socialist think they can p!$$ down our backs then tell us it’s raining!

Well, November 2010 is coming up fast.

Zorro on January 26, 2010 at 6:11 PM

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