Another ethics scandal: Congressmen abusing travel stipends?

Congressional rules say the daily travel funds, called a per diem, must be spent on meals, cabs and other travel expenses. But when lawmakers travel, many of their meals and expenses are picked up by other people, such as foreign governmentofficials or U.S. ambassadors.

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That can leave lawmakers with leftover money. Lawmakers routinely keep the extra funds or spend it on gifts, shopping or to cover their spouses’ travel expenses, according to dozens of current and former lawmakers…

The Journal article in March quoted several lawmakers saying they didn’t return excess travel funds to the government. Rep. Joe Wilson (R., S.C.) said he once bought marble goblets in Kabul. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D., Fla.) said he paid for drinks and gifts for people who traveled with him. Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D., N.C.), who is a member of the House ethics committee, said he sometimes keeps the extra money. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R., Ala.) said he didn’t know if he kept extra money because he doesn’t keep receipts.