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The Trail

Summer junkets make a comeback on Capitol Hill

Monday, Aug 19, 2013 - 02:40

After subsiding in the wake of the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling scandal, privately-funded Congressional trips are surging back, thanks to loopholes lawmakers inserted into a new Capitol Hill ethics code.

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Congressional travel has resumed being a major problem we're seeing a return of all the travel junkets that we had before. So the abuse is coming back. We had a huge reform backlash. In 2007. The problem was. Obviously Jack Abramoff we're flying members of congress all over the globe. -- -- and lobbyists from participating. In congressional travel. What's happened since that. Is members of congress have decided that a loving entity could setup a non profit group. And then finance the same type of congressional travel John it's through the nonprofit group for instance the American Israeli political action committee. This is a loving entity have very very influential force on Capitol Hill they have been flying members of congress to Israel for in a week long travel job. -- -- Organize. And run. -- -- lobbying entity so little sort of meetings with a government officials but. They do this same type of you know recreational activities everything you wanted to do -- vacation. Many of these trips are. Paid for and organize. By the foreign governments have a foreign government steps in and pays for the trip. It's not subject to our ethics restriction so it can be a seven day excursion. To China several members of congress flew out there they're paying for these trips for members of congress. Because they want congress to do something. So this is an extension of plumbing and here's a government. The Scottish government is doing the same thing several members of congress went to what we do know an international festival. And Scotland we don't hints itineraries. Files that are publicly available and so. It's literally kind of you know black hole. Of these trips to one paid for by the Consumer Electronics Association. Is probably the most open and regulated. Granted the Consumer Electronics Association clearly wants something from congress but -- falls directly under the ethics regulations. On this is a two day trip. For members of congress and congressional staffs a lot of people and a very expensive trip and the only type of organizations. Or companies that could afford the -- of the wealthy ones and we're seeing a return of all the travel junkets that we have before. You know I think we have to revisit this again and maybe go back to the idea of banning all privately sponsored travel all together.

Summer junkets make a comeback on Capitol Hill

Monday, Aug 19, 2013 - 02:40

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