Junkets Now Paid for by Taxpayers


If you thought the end of Abamoff meant the end of free vacations for Congresmen, think again.

Congress is keeping Andrews Air Force base plenty busy this year ferrying lawmakers all over the globe at taxpayers' expense. Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi took his wife, nine Democrats and two Republicans—Reps. Dan Lungren of California and Mike Rogers of Alabama—on a whirlwind tour of the Caribbean last week. After stops in Honduras and Mexico, they stopped in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where the delegation stayed at the five-star Caneel Bay resort.

In a separate trip to the Caribbean last week, Rep. Eliot Engel of New York squired his wife and four Democratic members to Grenada and Trinidad.

All told, the military flew at least 13 congressional delegations to various destinations during the Easter recess—at an estimated rate of $10,000 or more per flying hour.


Thompson's 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.


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."


The Caribbean trip led by Engel, who is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, explored the "best practices for emergency disaster relief" and energy policy, according to his office.

NEXT: What's the Opposite of Tax Evasion?

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  1. Funny how we don’t hear anything about Congressman Ron Paul vacationing at taxpayers expense… In fact he refused to allow his children to take out federally funded med school loans.

    Please, please support the Ron Paul pledge at:

  2. Stuff like this gets me so steamed.

  3. …so Congressmen have all this extra time for ‘fact-finding’ junkets — but don’t have time to actually read the specific legislation they enact throughout the year (??)

    How come Tim Russert never asks about that?


  4. If you thought the end of Abamoff meant the end of free vacations for Congresmen…




  5. Nice to see my tax money going for something other than BS wars in 3rd world sloughs. I say we pay for all of the legislature to attend “fact-finding” junkets around the world. In fact, make sure they are on the road 100% of the time that congress is in session. The more time they are away, the less time they have to be passing laws that infringe my life.

  6. I’m so happy that Democrats followed through on their promise to “drain the swamps.” David Weigel must be coming in his pants right now.

  7. Eh, half a loaf, jf.

    Better is better.

  8. If you thought the end of Abamoff meant the end of free vacations for Congresmen, think again.

    Have you seen the Pelosi lobbyist’s new “appetizer menu” – yeah, they write these so-called reform laws with zero loopholes. Much like the promise to fix earmarking and so on.

  9. Neville, maybe they can use their flight time to read the laws. 😀

  10. interesting to see Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters and other leftos down in the Caribbean spending our tax dollars…maybe they’re an advance party for Chavez and Castro.

  11. I’m surprised I didn’t read about this in the NY Times. I wonder…

  12. Eh, half a loaf, jf.

    It may be half a loaf, but every time I read a story like this I feel like I’m just opening up my wallet at letting whichever congressmen want to pinch a loaf inside it.

  13. If anyone hears about Madame Pelosi wanting to take a junket in her trunket……..please let me know.

  14. The hotel probably doesn’t offer a regular “government rate,” but they may well accept the U.S. government maximum per diem for lodging. That’s common. Max per diem for lodging in the Virgin Islands ranges from $135 to $299/night depending on location and season.

  15. I guess this is part of the ‘two Americas’.

    The one that pays taxes, and the other one that uses/spends them.

    This will never end…

    I paid 15k in taxes, enough to get one spouse 1.5 hours of flight time. Sorry I didn’t send in enough so they could afford suntan oil.

  16. At the Caneel Bay resort, where room rates reach $1,100 per night, the spokeswoman said Thompson and his wife paid the “government rate.”

    He did. The “government rate” is $3,300 dollars per night.

  17. “Please, please support the Ron Paul pledge at:

    Ok. I’m in. Only nine more left!

  18. The hubris of certain elected representatives used to astonish me; now it merely entertains. As others here have noted, this sort of thing word be worth every penny if it kept them out of the beltway when it mattered. It’s profoundly more expensive when they show up for work!

  19. Clearly it’s time for our legislators to give themselves another raise. Those people work so hard as public servants and barely get paid a livable salary.

  20. If these are work trips, why are the families tagging along at government expense?

    When my wife comes on a business trip (or vice versa) we have to pay for that extra plan ticket, and meals.

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