Lawmakers, with Clipped Wings, Still Fly


The new rules Congress passed last year requiring the disclosure of expense-paid trips members and their staff receive have sharply cut the number of free trips they have accepted. According to a short piece by Alex Knott at CQ, members of the 110th Congress and their staff have accepted a little more than $3 million in free trips, as opposed to $7.5 million accepted by the 108th Congress, a cut of more than half over the four years. Last year, Congress passed the new rules in the wake of the Jack Abramoff scandal, where it was revealed that lobbyists were showering lawmakers with lavish gifts and junkets. By the way, Abramoff, who is serving a six-year sentence for a fraudulent casino deal, is to be sentenced today by a federal judge where he faces an additional 11-year sentence for corrupting Congress.

CQ lists the lawmakers who have accepted the most money in free travel so far in this Congress:

– Rep. Susan A. Davis, Calif., $55,765

– Sen. Richard G. Lugar, Ind., $53,222

– Rep. Mike Ferguson, N.J., $51,886

– Rep. Russ Carnahan, Mo., $49,978

– Rep. Mark Souder, Ind., $49,750

– Rep. George Miller, Calif., $47,625

– Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Wis., $44,359

– Rep. Rick Boucher, Va., $42,219

– Rep. Howard L. Berman, Calif., $41,230

– Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Texas, $41,184

Center for Responsive Politics’ Congressional Travel database allows users to search all the trips taken by member of Congress, sponsors, industry, trip destination (both city and foreign country) and other fun data.