Don Young Must Repay $59K for Improper Trips/Gifts

A U.S. Representative must repay $59,000 to those who provided improper gifts, as well as be reproved by the House Ethics Committee.  

The House Ethics Committee  released a report  on Rep. Don Young , R-Alaska, stating that in regard to fifteen trips and certain gifts, (1) Young violated House rules, and other laws and standards of conduct, (2) Young failed to report certain gifts, (3) Young must repay the $59,064 value of those trips and gifts, (4) Young must amend his personal financial disclosure report to show the gifts, and (5) Young should be reproved for his conduct with respect to his personal use of campaign funds, his acceptance of improper gifts, and his failure to report certain gifts.  

Records Show Connections to New Republican Leaders

The campaign finance records of the newly elected House Majority Leader and Majority Whip provide a wealth of data on who already has connections into the two new leaders.  

Rep. Kevin McCarthy , R-Calif., has raised over $12.5 million in campaign funds for his principal campaign committee since 2006. The $4.9 million in contributions from individuals is easily searchable by donor name, employer, state, or date, on McCarthy's multi-year financial profile  with a subscription  to Political MoneyLine's databases.  

Congressional Visit to U.S. Citizen Imprisoned in Cuba

Four members of Congress traveled recently to Cuba to visit a U.S. citizen imprisoned since December 2009 in Cuba, a lost closer to home than Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's location.  

The four members of Congress met with Alan Gross , 65, at a military hospital where he is currently serving a 15 year sentence. Gross was imprisoned in December 2009 for working against the government. The meeting was arranged by the Cuban Foreign Ministry.  

Members of Congress Jet to Japan for Free
Congress Gets Away With Free Foreign Trips (Updated)

Some members of Congress didn't stick around Washington during the cold month of February, but they found better places to be on free trips to foreign lands.  

The big free trips during February included eleven members on the trip to Israel sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation . Another nineteen went to Cartagena, Colombia, with expenses paid by the Aspen Institute, the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund . Other members went to Japan, Australia, and Belgium. The trip to Australia for one member and his spouse was worth almost $50,000.  

House CODELs Cover the Globe
Loopholes Give Free Overseas Travel to Lobbyists and Members of Congress

Members of Congress and lobbyists continue to take advantage of loopholes in the gift and travel rules put in place after the Jack Abramoff scandal.

The "reality is that lobbyists who can't legally buy a lawmaker a sandwich can still escort members on trips all around the world," states a new National Journal investigative report.

Rep. Michele Bachmann Takes Son on Free Trip to Israel


The itinerary included staying at the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem, visits to the Western Wall, Siebenberg House, Temple Mount, Pools of Bethesda, the Knesset, Iron Dome, David's Sling, Mt. of Olives, Garden of Gethsamane, shopping in the Old City, City of Ariel, City of Samaria, Mountain of Blessing, Joseph's Tomb Overlook, Shiloh, Bethlehem, Hebron, Jordan Valley, Golan Heights, and a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee.

Although trips are not supposed to be paid for by lobbyists or those hiring lobbyists, the trip approval forms and agenda do include a listing of each member invited, their committee assignments, and specific bills sponsored or co-sponsored, relating to Israel. The trip also included a tour of the Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd., and the Defense Ministry.

Group Providing Member Free Travel Provided Low Cost Estimate

The non-profit organization provided an estimate for the cost of free travel for a member of Congress to the Middle East that proved be only one-third of the real cost.

The Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce provided an estimated cost figure of $4,065 to Rep. Danny K. Davis, D-Ill., for a free trip to Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar from August 30th to September 6th. The purpose of the trip was to lead a delegation of businessmen and women, educators, and researchers to explore "improving trade relations between these countries and building stronger and better relations."