Monday, April 16, 2007

The Raping Of Taxpayer Money

Members of Congress take their spouses on vacation using taxpayer money.

We all know this is a common occurrence so I won't manufacture outrage here, but it is important to point these things out as they happen.


The congressional delegation trips, known as CODELs, are paid for by taxpayers. They are supposed to be directly related to members’ official duties, and House guidelines also stipulate that delegations include members of both parties to qualify for military planes.

The key word, of course, supposed to be related to members' official duties. It is becoming increasingly difficult to understand exactly what members' official duties are. They keep changing the rules to distort the Constitution, and have frequently put congressional tradition above the law. I wonder if there is any official duties that would require members to bring their wives, and families, along with them?

Rep. Bennie Thompson's (D-MS) office said he toured the Caribbean because he now chairs the Homeland Security Committee and wanted to see vacation hot spots to “examine border security and port security.” Three other members of the delegation also brought along their spouses.

Well, I guess that answers my question. Apparently it is ok to bring your wife along with you on official business at taxpayer expense. I wonder how much it cost for the room on their trip?

At the Caneel Bay resort, where room rates reach $1,100 per night, the spokeswoman said Thompson and his wife paid the “government rate.” But, according to the reservations department, Caneel Bay doesn’t “offer any government rates.”

No government rates means that you and I, the taxpayer, paid $1,100 per night, per room. After they were done with this trip they went straight to the Caribbean on another trip led by Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY). Just in case you are wondering who went with them:

Traveling with Engel and his wife were Reps. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Tex., and Barbara Lee, D-Calif. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who went to Belgium in a delegation led by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., earlier in the week, also joined Engel’s Caribbean trip. She brought her husband with her.

Clearly a family affair. Members of both parties are active in this practice, and it is a common occurrence. Make sure you head over to the Examiner to see who else was involved in the Easter recess travels.


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