By Adam Andrzejewski for RealClearPolicy
OpenTheBooks.com analysis revealed that more than 500 Congressmen took over 8,000 trips between 2017 and 2021. These were paid by approximately 700 third-party organisations. This practice, while not illegal in principle, presents a conflict for lawmakers.
This conflict of interests is best illustrated by five non-profit organizations, which paid for 925 travel expenses for Congressmen and their staff. They then received $102 million from the federal government over the five year period that we audited.
Staff and members took 2,600 trips abroad, compared with 5,490 to their home country. Only five destinations were popular: Israel (939), Berlin, Germany (103); Tokyo, Japan 100); Paris, France (102) and Brussels, Belgium (76).
In April 2019, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez and his wife traveled to Amman, Jordan and Beiruit, Lebanon, a trip that cost $20,328.32 and was paid for by the United Nations Foundation. Their travel cost alone was $14,000, but they flew coach and business class. Gonzalez was a member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He stayed at Four Seasons during his stay in Amman.
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The United Nations receives nearly $10 billion in taxpayer aid to 58 sub-entities each year and its Foundation received $11 million in congressional grants during the last five-year period.
All trips can be made legal if they are not illegal at arms’ length. This pattern is however troubling. Legislators are presented with clear conflicts of interest when they receive federal funding for a free trip.
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Real Clear Wire permission Syndicated
OpenTheBooks.com’s forensic auditors present the #WasteOfTheDay.