The Speaker Shuttle service’s Friends & Family Program

posted at 1:47 pm on October 27, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

It’s good to be King — or in this case, Queen.  CBS probes the use of taxpayer-funded charter jets by Nancy Pelosi and finds that the Speaker likes to travel in style — and that she’s not the only one.  Call this the Family & Friends program, all on our dime:

Today, Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) regularly uses the military jets to travel to and from California, where she lives. Nine years after Sept. 11, her office says the service is still necessary for security reasons.

Yet security concerns were not cited by Assistant Defense Secretary Robert Wilkie when he discussed the shuttle service in 2007. The military shuttle support would be provided “as a courtesy in recognition of your position as Speaker of the House,” says a letter from Wilkie to Pelosi on Feb. 7, 2007.

It continues: “Since the plan for continuity of the Presidency does not include routine use of military airlift for the Speaker of the House, this support is provided without any specific basis to your standing as Presidential successor or position in the line of succession.”

Before 9/11, Speakers flew commercial, regardless of their destination.  For a while after the terrorist attacks, it made sense to secure the continuity of succession, but that should have been a temporary policy.  Denny Hastert didn’t relinquish the perk, however, and when Pelosi took the gavel, she continued the policy.

However, Pelosi has also vastly expanded it.  Hastert took well-deserved grief for allowing another member of the House to use the charter to travel to an event where the lower-ranking Congressman (John Shimkus) was defending Hastert’s handling of the Mark Foley scandal.  That one-off, criticized as it was, has now become a policy for Pelosi:

From her first month in office, even before the Feb. 7, 2007 policy guidance from the military, records indicate Pelosi began extending the perk of the Speaker Shuttle to Democratic colleagues. By March 15, 2007 Pelosi had invited members of Congress Mike Thompson, Barbara Lee (pictured), Anna Eshoo, George Miller, Ellen Tauscher and Jerry McNerney, all Democrats from California, to hitch rides with her on various Speaker Shuttle flights — some multiple times.

Records indicate Pelosi was the first to use routinely invite fellow members of Congress aboard the Speaker Shuttle. Yet the issue of whether the extra passengers would pay for the rides, and if so, how much; hadn’t been agreed upon. That was addressed in an email exchange between military officials and the Speaker’s Counsel in March of 2007.

Notice that the partisan affiliation of the guests is rather … consistent.  Nor are they the only beneficiaries of taxpayer largesse in the skies.  It seems anyone can hitch a ride — as long as they’re related to the Speaker of the House:

According to available records, Pelosi began inviting her family members aboard the Speaker Shuttle less than two months after she became Speaker. Like Hastert, she often takes her spouse (with no reimbursement required). She also extends the privilege to other family members. Listed among the passengers on a Feb. 22, 2007 flight from San Francisco to Washington D.C. are husband Paul Pelosi, daughter Christine and son Paul.

A little more than a month later, an internal military email exchange makes it clear that Pelosi’s family travel was not a one-time occurrence. Nor was it isolated to her husband and grown children.

“Speaker wants to put the following on her flight from SFO (San Francisco) to Andrews (Air Force Base),” says the April 2, 2007 email. “Daughter, son-in-law, infant grandson… Who authorizes the son-in-law and infant grandson?”

After some discussion, the military agreed to the extra passengers but noted, “Believe it is prudent policy for us to ask for reimbursement for all her travelling companions.” Available records do not show individual reimbursement rates. Pelosi’s office says her family members comply with all reimbursement rules, which require the equivalent of a commercial coach air fare.

The reimbursement rate for a military charter Gulfstream jet is … commercial coach?  Sweet!  I’m going to start redoing my genealogical chart to see if Madame Speaker and I have a common ancestor.

The taxpayers do not need to provide charter jets for the Speaker, and we certainly don’t need to fund family travel packages for our governing elites.  Perhaps we need a new set of Representatives who will understand their role as public servants and not nobility, and a Republican majority that will ground Air Pelosi permanently.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Yikes! Do you know what this means?????

husband Paul Pelosi, daughter Christine and son Paul

This means someone married her AND had sex with her! ewwwww

behiker on October 27, 2010 at 3:10 PM

And then President Palin can put Air Force Three on Ebay. (and then have an agent sell it).

turfmann on October 27, 2010 at 3:06 PM

The plane itself belongs to the Air Force.
Don’t sell it, just use it responsibly.

Brian1972 on October 27, 2010 at 3:11 PM

boehner, are you listening?

cmsinaz on October 27, 2010 at 1:54 PM

Yeah, he is, he already stated…no parties, no hoopla after the election, we are getting down to work and straightening this mess out.
I think he means it…

right2bright on October 27, 2010 at 3:14 PM

CBS could hardly ignore the story. Judicial Watch has been exploring the litigation of this abuse of taxpayers’ dollars for some time. The facts have been gathered and substantiated.

BTW Didn’t Pelosi use this jet to haul her family and political friends to the AGW conference in Europe last winter (when the huge snowstorm made a mockery of the “settled science”? The bar bills that Pelosi and friends accumulated over time goes off the charts. And the hotel bills for the AGW conference were equally astronomical.

onlineanalyst on October 27, 2010 at 3:16 PM

If her Air Force ride amounted to sitting on the bare floor of a C-130 cargo carrier through frequent, violent turbulence, I wouldn’t mind so much.

Django on October 27, 2010 at 3:21 PM

Django on October 27, 2010 at 3:21 PM

How ’bout bungee cording her to the wing?

NoDonkey on October 27, 2010 at 3:33 PM

Limousine liberals.

“Commercial flights for thee, but not for me. Don’t you know how important I am?”

Dominion on October 27, 2010 at 3:34 PM

right2bright on October 27, 2010 at 3:14 PM

hope so….we shall see :)

cmsinaz on October 27, 2010 at 3:35 PM

Dominion on October 27, 2010 at 3:34 PM

How we would run up multi-trillion dollar deficits without liberals?

NoDonkey on October 27, 2010 at 3:41 PM

If her Air Force ride amounted to sitting on the bare floor of a C-130 cargo carrier through frequent, violent turbulence, I wouldn’t mind so much.

Django on October 27, 2010 at 3:21 PM

In granny jams and a straight jacket.

Key West Reader on October 27, 2010 at 3:59 PM

This is one of the things I have been waiting for….. her loss of all the shuttles. I love it! Will save us millions!

ultracon on October 27, 2010 at 4:15 PM

I think he means it…

right2bright on October 27, 2010 at 3:14 PM

Hopefully he understands how easily he can be fired.

Oldnuke on October 27, 2010 at 4:21 PM

Nancy Pelosi, like all Marxists, hates this country.

She really hates the country and does whatever she can to disrespect it, us the citizens and to flaunt her disdain for us Americans. She hates us. Abuse of our money — taxpayers’ money — is Pelosi’s way (as also by other Marxists like her) of “sticking it” to those she holds in very low regard: Americans.

Lourdes on October 27, 2010 at 4:28 PM

I have a difficult time understanding how Pelosi’s HUSBAND and other family members would even tolerate her abusive behavior. Do none of them ever consider telling her “no”?

Lourdes on October 27, 2010 at 4:29 PM

Nancy Pelosi Wants Bedroom on Jet

Lourdes on October 27, 2010 at 4:34 PM

jonknee on October 27, 2010 at 2:19 PM

Gezz your using Politifact/FactCheck as a source?

Politifact/FactCheck used Pelosi aides as there ONLY source to refute the $100K booze claim.

Seriously, Pelosi didn’t spend $100K on booze cuz Pelosi said she didn’t spend $100K on booze.
That’s what “qualifies” as “Fact Checkng” by Politifact/ FactCheck!

“In no way was $100,000 spent on booze for her flights. She doesn’t even drink.”

Do you know where this claim comes from?

Here it is.

Senior Pelosi aides immediately reached out to refute Bachmann’s assertion as totally false:
“Speaker Pelosi does not drink alcohol. There is no alcohol service on the domestic flights the Air Force operates for travel from Washington to San Francisco for the Speaker

Pelosi made this “does not drink alcohol” and “ no alcohol service on the domestic flights”
BEFORE releasing the records due to a FOIA request.

FactCheck.org wrote. “That category actually includes all non-plane costs of the trip, including baggage fees, meeting room rentals and refreshments, and, frequently, good-will lapel pins — as well as meals, ground transportation and lodging in U.S. territory.”

If you bothered to go over the documentation provided by the source you linked, you would find that the cost of items are ahhh, itemized, meeting room rentals, refreshments, good-will lapel pins, meals, ground transportation and lodging anywhere is separate from “inflight booze and food”.

Politifact/FactCheck tries to play it down AFTER the releasing the records due to a FOIA request.

“Sum spent on alcohol is a small proportion

True, $101,429.14 is a small proportion (5%) of $2,100,744.59, however it is still $101,429.14 for booze.

And $101,429.14 for booze is a far cry from $0.00 for booze.

DSchoen on October 27, 2010 at 4:36 PM

HAExpert on October 27, 2010 at 2:09 PM

Actually this story is way over a year-old.
Pelosi had been blocking a FOIA request for over a year, she just recently was forced to comply with the FOIA request.

The info in the FOIA request, documented $100K+ for booze after Pelosi said there was “no booze” is what has brought this story back.

Strange how the MSM doesn’t give the proper background info to explain why this story is back?

DSchoen on October 27, 2010 at 4:59 PM

jonknee on
Judicial Watch’s press release, shows a decidedly more modest pricetag for the “bar tab” — namely, $560.28, purchased at what appears to have been a no-frills base exchange at Maryland’s Bolling Air Force Base near Washington, D.C.

And that “one” receipt was one of 20,000

Use yur head, why did Pelosi try and block the FOIA request for over one year?

BTW, $560.28 is more than $0.00 that Pelosi claimed.
Pelosi lied

DSchoen on October 27, 2010 at 5:17 PM

Come on folks, look at that face; do you really believe that she is not a boozer just because she says so?

slickwillie2001 on October 27, 2010 at 5:37 PM

Yikes! Do you know what this means?????

husband Paul Pelosi, daughter Christine and son Paul

This means someone married her AND had sex with her! ewwwww

behiker on October 27, 2010 at 3:10 PM

Now don’t get too alarmed. There is always the possibility of a turkey baster.

Slowburn on October 27, 2010 at 6:11 PM

Well not too long now and Broomstick One can be relegated to AMTRAK.

Jack Bauer on October 28, 2010 at 3:18 AM

At the time this first became a story (right after she became Speaker in early 2007) I read that the airplane available to her was the same kind that was available to then-First Lady Laura Bush when she was travelling without her husband.

These things are always a necessary security measure when the person in question is in your party, and a frivolous perk when the roles are reversed.

factoid on October 28, 2010 at 10:58 AM

Comment pages: 1 2