Monday, January 23, 2006

F. Jim still feeding at free travel trough

No surprise here.

Rep. F. Jim Sensenbrenner, right,the multimillionaire who represents suburban Wisconsin, leads the state delegation again in taking free travel, with five trips worth $39,000 in 2005.

You may recall the story last year in which he led all members of Congress in privately-paid travel. He even had more free trips that Tom DeLay.

He hasn't slowed down, or let any of the lobbying scandals affect him. Speaker Dennis Hastert wants to ban privately-paid travel, but F. sees no need to do that. It doesn't influence him at all, he says, and saves the taxpayers money. Of course, F could easily afford to pay his own way, but you don't get rich spending money when you don't have to, so F keeps his credit card in his wallet and keeps his wallet in his pocket.

The AP reports:

Sensenbrenner, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, traveled to Europe, Japan and Las Vegas, and twice to San Francisco last year, congressional records show.

Two trade associations that have business before his committee - the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and the National Association of Broadcasters - paid to fly Sensenbrenner and his wife to speak to their groups. He met with the cable group in San Francisco and the broadcasters in Las Vegas...

In February, Sensenbrenner and his wife traveled to Paris; Stuttgart, Germany; and Liechtenstein to participate in congressional roundtables on economic, monetary, trade and foreign policy issues. The International Management and Development Institute, which promotes dialogue between business and government leaders, picked up the $16,200 tab.

Last fall, the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission spent $11,400 to cover the couple's travel expenses to Tokyo, where Sensenbrenner met with members of the Japanese parliament.

Sensenbrenner also traveled to San Francisco to give a speech to his alma mater, Stanford University.

Last year's pace was not unusual for Sensenbrenner. In a report in April, Political Money Line, which tracks money in politics, found that Sensenbrenner took $168,000 worth of privately funded trips since 2000 - more than any other lawmaker.
Ryan travel worth $23,000; he opposes ban, too

Rep. Paul Ryan rang up $23,000 worth of travel, and said he opposes a ban on privately funded travel, but would support a ban on trips paid for by corporations. The AP reports:

Ryan's trips were paid for by the Heritage Foundation, the Club for Growth, the Claremont Institute for Statesmanship and Political Philosophy and the America Israel Educational Foundation.

"I'm concerned about a total ban because some of these are fantastic educational trips that make us better members of Congress," he said. "We need to ban the lobbying junkets - the golf course in Scotland - and I think we should have the ethics committee pre-approve trips.

Ryan's most expensive trip was to Israel, funded by the America Israel Educational Foundation at a cost of nearly $15,000.

"I learned more about the Middle East peace process in a few days than I could have going to 100 congressional hearings on the topic," Ryan said, adding that he met with both Palestinian and Israeli leaders. "Given that I have to vote on these foreign policy issues repeatedly each year, I think it made me a better decision-maker."

Four members of the delegation took no privately funded trips last year: Republican Rep. Mark Green, Democratic Rep. David Obey, and the state's two Democratic senators, Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold.

Feingold, a longtime advocate of curtailing the influence of special interests on Congress, said last week he supports a complete ban on privately funded travel, "with the possible limited exceptions for certain charitable groups that don't lobby."
The whole list for 2005.


Post a Comment

<< Home