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After making Tom DeLay and his travel arrangements a major political issue this session, Nancy Pelosi has inadvertently created an embarrassment for dozens of Democratic lawmakers who found themselves in the same position as DeLay -- having outside funding for travel expenses go unreported and covered by lobbying groups in apparent violation of the House ethics rules. Now Pelosi herself has come under closer scrutiny as she revealed several questionable trips for herself:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) filed delinquent reports Friday for three trips she accepted from outside sponsors that were worth $8,580 and occurred as long as seven years ago, according to copies of the documents. ...
The most expensive trip was not reported on Pelosi's annual financial disclosure statement or on the travel disclosure form that is required within 30 days of a trip. ...
The unreported trip was a week-long 1999 visit to Taiwan, paid for by the Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce, for "meetings with government, military and business officials," according to a filing Pelosi signed June 30. The flights cost $3,400 each for Pelosi and her husband. The hotel cost was $940. The sponsor, which has picked up trips for leaders of both parties, paid $300 for meals.
Anyone know the difference between the CNAIC and a lobbyist? Perhaps the former might have tax-exempt status, but clearly they have an interest in greasing the skids for Pelosi and others to remain friendly to their economic interests. Not to pile on, but the sponsors also paid for Pelosi's husband. Why? Does Pelosi employ her husband as a consultant? If that seems harsh, remember that the Democrats have claimed that DeLay's hiring of family as paid staff violates ethical standards, even though DeLay has openly done so and reported their incomes as legitimate campaign and operational expenses. If Pelosi has the same arrangement for her husband, then she should reveal that. If not, lobbyists shouldn't be giving him free flights to exotic locations that supposedly related to official government business.
Pelosi has created a catastrophe for the Democrats, now including herself, by kicking over the travel-expenses rock. She may have aimed at DeLay, but her choice of weapons could not have been worse. It amounts to poetic justice that the misfire has specifically hit her as well as her fellow caucus members, who may soon decide that her leadership costs them more than it's worth.Sphere It View blog reactions
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