Thursday, November 05, 2015

Illinois Lawmakers Took 70 Trips To 44 Foreign Countries In Past Two Years Alone

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger
U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) in Turkey (Getty images)
The Chicago Tribune offers up another example of the type of reporting you don't get when your major daily newspaper is a Gannett newspaper. The Tribune studied the foreign travel of its 20 congressional members for the past two years and learned they had taken 70 trips to 44 foreign countries. Pinpointing the cost of that travel is a bit difficult, particularly since members don't have to disclose the cost of a trip that's paid for by a foreign government. Yes, we allow members of Congress to take trips overseas that are paid for by foreign governments.

Illinois' most frequent flier isn't the former high-flying U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, who resigned after questions were raised about his travel and congressional office expenditures and reimbursements. That award went to the other cake boy congressman from Illinois, Adam Kinzinger (R), who defends the nine overseas trips he's taken by saying "my constituents want me to be the best-educated member of Congress to represent them."

The most popular destination for Illinois congressional members is Cuba, followed by Israel, Ukraine, Germany and Poland. Sometimes when the trips are supposedly paid for by foreign governments, the tab is actually being picked up by foreign companies, such as the oil company that paid for U.S. Rep. Danny Davis' trip to Azerbaijan. Others, like several of the trips taken by Rep. Kinzinger, are paid for by non-profits funded by billionaires like Bill Gates. Spouses frequently accompany the members on the "official" trips, which have included fun things like touring old castles, cocktails on Mediterranean cruises and Norwegian fiord dinner cruises. Ah, the rough life of a congressman. A public interest group tells The Tribune it is asking newly-elected Speaker Paul Ryan to place a moratorium on sponsored trips until new, tighter rules can be enacted. Good luck with that.
Instagram moment
Former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock selfie during trip to India

1 comment:

Josh said...

I wonder how many were to Turkey at Erdogan's cost? Turkey seems to be buying a lot of US politicians lately, perhaps to give the impression of legitimacy of the new Ottoman empire (isis gets men, arms, money, pretty much everything via Turkey, a NATO ally).