Wednesday, February 09, 2005

US Rep. Gene Green -- travelin' man

U.S. Rep. Gene Green, D-Houston, is on a quest for knowledge and understanding that takes him to the far reaches of the world. If the destinations on his journey happen to have a 5-star hotel and great golf courses, that's just part of the price his sponsors must pay.

Out of 582 members of Congress, he ranks third for taking privately sponsored trips, says an investigation by Marketplace, American RadioWorks, and a team of graduate students from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, who cataloged every privately sponsored trip taken in the last four years.

More than $14 million was spent by corporations, universities, and other outside interests to send representatives around the world, for sometimes questionable reasons, the report says.

Green took 32 trips at a cost of $153,873.02. He spent 126 days traveling. His lovely wife Helen often went along.

Green went to Germany three times. And Italy. And Israel, Mexico and Switzerland. And to Las Vegas and Floria a bunch of times. [Green's itinerary]

U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Sugarland, ranked only 29th, taking 11 trips during 43 days for $82,390.71.
Great Britain, Malaysia, Taiwan, S. Korea, Hawaii, Colorado, W. Palm Beach were included on his itinerary, with lovely wife Christine tagging along to Great Britain, Malaysia, S. Korea, Taiwan and W. Palm Beach.[DeLay's itinerary]

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, had DeLay beat, ranking 27th and spending 106 days on the road or in the air, with many of the trips' bills being footed by the Aspen Institute, the biggest congressional travel sponsor. Lloyd went to Vancouver, Zurich, Prague, Kiev, Florence, Helsinki, China, Mexico, Spain, Moscow and to Sitka, Alaska (for the Alaska Rain Forest Campaign.)[Doggett's itinerary]

Sadly, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Houston, ranked a disappointing 162nd, but she did get in some spa time at the Ritz Carlton in Doha, Qatar.[Jackson-Lee's itinerary]

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Surfside, didn't take a single trip. We don't know whether his Libertarian-style principles preclude him from taking freebie trips or whether nobody cares what he has to say. If anyone knows, please email us.


Anonymous said...

I wanted to write a short answer about Congressman Paul taking "no trips" on taxpayer money.

People do want to hear what he has to say. He uses the telephone. He stays in America, talking to Americans, frankly because he cares about America first. We have problems in this country and his work is here. He doesn't believe that the American people should pay for his vacations or his retirement(which he has rejected). He also believes that Congress is paid too well altogether. Ron Paul believes in serving his country instead of his country serving him.

When you find someone who is different, look into it. You'll like what you find in Congressman Paul. A true breath of fresh air in the world of politics today.

Banjo Jones said...

thanks for writing.
however, my understanding is these trips aren't at taxpayers' expense. the various sponsors of these seminars, retreats, conventions, etc. are footing the bill.

Anonymous said...

The real question is - Why do these people and places care so much what Gene Green has to say? That'd be my first question instead of wondering if they care about what Ron's talking about. It seems to be the more relevant query...

Or, just call Ron's campaign office down there in Clute and ask to speak to the scheduler for her opinion. =)

- Chris Elam
(Ron's webmaster)

Banjo Jones said...

I can't answer the Gene Green question. If the first commenter was correct, it's not that these junket sponsors DON'T care what Ron Paul has to say; it's more a matter of Ron Paul preferring to communicate one-on-one on the phone. That's OK by me.