Members of Congress and Spouses Received $436K in Free Trips During Two-Week Spring Break

Posted April 25, 2013 at 10:41am

During a two-week spring break, Members of Congress, and in come cases spouses, received free overseas trips to Turkey, Germany, South Africa, India, Taiwan and Cuba. The private sponsors of the trips paid $436,526 in expenses. In a few cases, since they were already there, they have added on extra days, at personal expense, for further enjoyment. These trips are different from other official Congressional delegation (CODEL) trips paid by the government.

The trip with the most members was to Istanbul, Turkey, for a conference on the US Role in a Rapidly Changing Middle East, sponsored by the Aspen Institute. The conference was the first week of April and the following 17 members attended and reported the value of the free trip they received:  Reps. Lois Capps, D-Calif., $6,821; Tom Cole, R-Okla., and spouse $18,408; John Delaney, D-Md., $9,202; Ted Deutch, D-Fla., and spouse $18,140; Sam Farr, D-Calif., $7,485; John Garmendi, D-Calif., and spouse $16,230; Barbara Lee, D-Calif., $14,712; Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., including spouse $15,220; Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., and spouse $13,210; Fred Upton, R-Mich., and spouse $14,002; Greg Walden, R-Ore., and spouse $14,000, Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and spouse $15,732; James McDermott, D-Wash., $6,868; Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., $13,330;  Billy Long, R-Mo., and spouse $17,660; Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and spouse $16,450; and Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and spouse $9,366.

Since they were there, Reps. Fred Upton, Greg Walden, Earl Blumenauer, James McDermott, Anna Eshoo, Henry Waxman added on other days at personal expense.

Berlin, Germany

Since he was there, Rep. James Cooper added on extra days at personal expense.

Three members received a free trip to Taipei, Taiwan, paid for by Fu Jen University. These included John Fleming, R-La., and spouse $27,372; Gregg Harper, R-Miss., and spouse $27,000; and Tim Walberg, R-Mich., and spouse $27,313.

Rep. James McDermott, D-Wash., also took a free trip to Cape Town, South Africa, the last week of March paid for by the RESULTS Educational Foundation. The $11,242 trip was to examine issues related to fighting tuberculosis and TB/HIV co-infection.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., received a free trip at the end of March to Ahmedabad, India, to meet government officials and American businesses. The $16,810 trip with her spouse was sponsored by the national Indian American Public Policy Corporation.

Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., traveled to Havana, Cuba, in the first week of April on a free $1,315 trip sponsored by the Center for Democracy in the Americas.

Multi-year databases of privately paid trips by members of Congress appear on Political MoneyLine’s website.