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CREW Asks Ethics to Probe Fossella Travel

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington on Monday urged the House ethics committee to investigate Rep. Vito Fossella (R-N.Y.) to determine whether he violated House rules by using taxpayer-funded travel to pursue a love affair.

CREW is seeking action after Fossella was arrested May 5 on drunken-driving charges. Soon thereafter, Fossella admitted that he had been having an affair with former Lt. Col. Laura Fay, and that the two have a 3-year-old daughter.

Reports have indicated that the affair began in 2002 during a Congressional trip to Europe, when Fay was serving as an Air Force liaison officer who traveled with Congressional delegations.

In the summer of 2003, Fossella asked then-Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) to take part in another Congressional trip to Europe, during which the affair allegedly became obvious to other attendees. At the end of the trip, Fossella returned home on a commercial flight instead of the military transport provided, at a cost of $2,094 to taxpayers. Fay left Hastert while on a special tour in order to accompany Fossella to the airport.

According to the New York Daily News, a Hastert aide noted that the two were “kind of cozy” on the trip and accused Fay of shirking her responsibilities. The aide then barred Fossella from accompanying Hastert on future trips and filed a complaint with the Air Force about Fay’s conduct, asking that she be reassigned.

Fossella allegedly was also the sole Member of Congress who traveled to France in January 2003 in Fay’s company.

“Having an affair is one thing; conducting it at taxpayer expense is quite another,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW. “If that’s what happened, the ethics committee should hold him accountable.”

However, the ethics committee is not required to follow up on outside requests for a probe.

Much to GOP leaders’ chagrin, Fossella is considering running for re-election.

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