The following is from an email forwarded to me from the Southern Middle Tennessee Men's Club. Great information. I love the fact that Dear Harold beat out Maxine Waters and Barney Frank in the top 5 trip takers list...Is It Unlawful or Unethical if Everybody Does It
Why would we elect Democrats or Republicans who are unethical?. Why aren’t they replaced? Is it because we may be guilty also and want our pork too? The Democrats have given House Majority Leader Tom DeLay hell over the past few weeks. The House acted in January to change the rules, but an investigation by the Political Money Line and Washington Post surfaced lots of dirt on both sides – Democrats and Republican alike. This article is a summary of the information disclosed.
Based on information disclosed by the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate, Members of Congress have received over $16 million ($16,168,014) during the last five years (from 2000 to winter 2005) traveling around the world at the expense of private organizations. About $8.8 million came from tax-exempt organizations (which are not required to disclose their donors to the public in the IRS Form 990 reports they must file) receive funds from lobbyists.
Data shows that 605 Members of Congress made 5,410 trips. Of these, Democrats took 3,025, Republicans took 2,375, and 10 trips were taken by others.
The following charts depict the number of trips taken and the cost per year; the 5 Member receiving the greatest amount and their Party; and the 5 Members making the most trips and their Party and the amount each spent.
Privately-funded Travel and Amount
Year # Trips Amount
2000 1015 $2,520,117
2001 1292 $3,774,860
2002 770 $2,485,801
2003 1253 $3,859,994
2004 789 $2,650,319
2005 part 286 $870,362
Members Receiving Most Gifts of Travel
Order Congress Member Party Amount
1. Sensenbrenner, James F. Republican $167,960
2. Green, Gene Democrat $165,436
3. Breaux, John B. Democrat $162,496
4. Wexler, Robert Democrat $161,599
5. Hinchley, Maurice Democrat $161,353
Note that after Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, the next four Members benefiting monetarily the most were Democrats. Yet, no Democrat has raised questions about any other Democrat. Their goal is to destroy House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
Following through, Republican Sensenbrenner received the most gifts of travel (19 trips valued at $167,960). DeLay was 28th on the list (14 trips valued at $94,568). Rep. Harold Ford (D-Tenn.) traveled most (60 trips costing $61,000). Ford's expenses were less because his travels were within the United States.
Members Taking Most Trips
Order Congress Member Party # Trips
1. Breaux, John B. Democrat 61
2. Ford, Harold E. Jr. Democrat 60
3. Biden, Joseph R. Jr. Democrat 56
4. Waters, Maxine Democrat 52
5. Barney, Frank Democrat 51
Relative to the amount of travel, one can readily see that the Democrats took the most trips. Not a single Republican is listed in the top five.
DeLay is touted to be the most effective Majority Leader since the days when Democrats ruled. He has had the skills to resists and thwarts the Democrats' agenda. Since he continues to win re-election, Democrats are trying to take him down using their scandal machine.
DeLay is being excoriated by the Democrats because some of his trips, including one to Russia in 1997, appear to have been paid for at least in part by lobbyists, albeit through a non-profit organization. DeLay has said he had no knowledge of lobbyists funding such trips, which might have violated House ethics rules. Actually, the Democrats appear to be greater violators than DeLay and Republicans and the Democrats should look in the mirrow at all the fingers pointing back at Democrats.
If the Democrats are serious about "exposing" ethically questionable travel, there is plenty of data to investigate. For example:
· 127 + travel reports filed by members listed no destinations.
· 20 reports listed no trip sponsor.
· 106 reports listed no cost figures.
· 51 reports showed no purpose for the travel.
· 4 reports failed to show any travel dates.
Some members, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, has rushed to file amended reports after a Washington Post reporter inquired about it. She failed to report a 2004 trip to South Korea. She filed a full disclosure form "a few hours after the newspapers' inquiry" and sent a note to the ethics committee which said, "I did not know I was supposed to file these forms and I apologize for its lateness."
When comparisons with other Members' trips on the same dates for the same purposes are reviewed, one can readily visualize that:
· Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee's $10,667 trip in April 2002 probably was to Botswana.
· Representative Cal Dooley's $6,101 trip in November 2003 probably was to Costa Rica.
· Representative Jeff Flake's $1,520 tip in September 2001 was probably to Cuba.
· Representative Hilda Solis' $1,489 trip in February 2001 was probably to Mexico City.
· Representative Chris John's $2,385 trip in November 2000 was probably to Orlando, FL.
· Senator Conrad Burns' $2,396 trip in January 2002 was probably to Las Vegas, NV.
On 27 April 05, the House Republicans decided to rescind a rules change they has pushed through in January that led to the shutdown of the ethics committee, possibly clearing the way for consideration of charges against DeLay and others. The House Ethics Committee had not been operating because Democrats would not allow it to meet following the rules change that required an ethics complaint be dismissed if the evenly-divided panel deadlocked. With the dirt out on the Democrats, I doubt that the Democrats will proceed with serious ethics investigations.
Most Common Destination and Number of Visits
Order Destination # of Trips
4. Not specified
Organizations Spending Most
1. Aspen Institute
2. Ripon Society
3. American Israel Education Foundation
4. Int'l Management and Development Institute
5. Assn of American Railroads
Organizations spending the most for congressional travel, according to PoliticalMoneyLine, were the Aspen Institute ($2,897,602) and the Ripon Society ($694,042), both ideologically liberal organizations.
This information is based on an article by Cal Thomas and an investigative report by Political Money Line.