Boehner Among Leaders When It Comes to Free Travel
A new study has found that a local congressman is among the top lawmakers who accept free travel from privately funded groups.
U.S. Rep. John Boehner (R-West Chester), the House majority leader, ranked third among all lawmakers for accepting free travel, according to a study released this week by the non-partisan Center for Public Integrity. Boehner accepted more than $350,000 in free travel, and he or his staff members took more than 200 free trips in the 5½-year period examined by the study.
Ranking below Boehner were former Rep. Tom DeLay (fourth), who recently resigned amid an ethics probe, and Rep. Dennis Hastert, the House speaker (fifth).
Boehner won the majority leader’s post after DeLay resigned largely by positioning himself as the reform candidate. According to the non-partisan Campaign for a Cleaner Congress, however, “Boehner has traveled on more exclusive golf outings, lobbyist-funded vacations and fundraising excursions to luxurious destinations than he has on return trips back to his Ohio district to visit constituents during this time period.”
Overall, Republican and Democratic lawmakers accepted almost $50 million in free trips during the period covered by the study. Many of the trips were paid by corporations and groups seeking to influence lawmakers on pending bills or future legislation that would benefit them, the study says.
Boehner has countered such allegations in the past by noting that the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct approved all of his trips. Critics reply that the committee does not have a codified approval process and is ripe for abuse.
— Kevin Osborne