June 05, 2006

US Congressmen took $50 million in free trips & Why Health Insurance is So Poor in the USA

A new independent, non-partisan study today announced that US congressmen and their assistants have taken about $50 million of trips paid for by special interests (corporations & lobbyists) with many trips to popular vacation destinations such as Paris, Hawaii and Italy. Many people are viewing these "fact finding trips" as thinly disguised payments for special favors for corporations and other special interest groups - and provide examples such as the regulations that allow very limited mental health insurance coverage (or non-existent health insurance) which increases insurance companies profits at the expense of driving up costs for families that can least afford it, while at the same time making it impossible for many families to get the recommended early treatments for schizophrenia that make a recoveries more likely. Following is a quote from today's Reuters news coverage:

Members of the U.S. Congress and their aides took free trips worth nearly $50 million paid for by corporations, trade associations and other private groups between January 2000 and June 2005, according to a study released on Monday.

Some of the 23,000 trips featured $500-a-night hotel rooms, $25,000 corporate jet rides and visits to popular spots such as Paris, Hawaii and Colorado ski resorts, said the study, by the Center for Public Integrity, American Public Media and Northwestern University's Medill News Service.

The study found that many of those who picked up the tabs were at the same time seeking to shape legislation on Capitol Hill or win federal contracts.

"In many instances, trip sponsors appeared to be buying access to elected officials or their advisors," the study said.

Read More:

Lawmakers' lobby-paid trips: $50 million since '00 - Interest groups woo members and staff on far-flung journeys, studies show (Medill News Service)

Lawmakers took millions in free trips: study (Reuters)

Additional information:

A new study of more than 25,000 public documents reveals that members of Congress are not alone in taking millions of dollars worth of privately funded trips. Lawmakers and their aides took nearly 23,000 privately sponsored trips to places from Kansas to Kazakhstan, at a cost of almost $50 million, according to a new study by the Center for Public Integrity, Northwestern University's Medill News Service, and American Public Media programs Marketplace and American RadioWorks.

"Power Trips: Congressional Staffers Share the Road" is the result of a year-long investigation by American Public Media reporters, Northwestern University Medill School graduate students and Center for Public Integrity staffers who analyzed 25,000 travel documents from January 2000 to June 2005, filed not only by Congress members but also by their staffs. The study is a follow-up to the widely cited "Power Trips: Congress Hits the Road," an investigation of privately sponsored travel by Congress members released two years ago by Northwestern University's Medill School and American Public Media.

In looking at travel by both members of Congress and their staffers, the new "Power Trips" study finds that the lion's share of the nearly $50 million spent on trips by private sponsors was enjoyed by congressional aides, the powerful Beltway gatekeepers to Congress members who special interests want to reach. Like their bosses, the study also found, staffers repeatedly ignored travel disclosure requirements and House and Senate rules.

Among the major findings, the Center for Public Integrity, Medill News Service and American Public Media report that:

-- Many privately funded trips taken by Congress were sponsored by corporations, trade associations and nonprofit groups with business interests on Capitol Hill.

-- Often, the travel amounted to pricey jaunts to some of the world's best-known vacation destinations. From January 2000 through June 2005, congressional travelers took at least 200 trips to Paris, 150 to Hawaii, and 140 to Italy.

-- Disclosure forms also show that at least 500 trips cost $10,000 or more, 16 cost $25,000 or more, and the cost of one exceeded $30,000. There were $500-a-night hotel rooms, $25,000 corporate jet rides and other extravagant perks.

Both Democrats and Republicans took advantage of privately funded travel. Of the two dozen congressional offices that accepted the most trips, 15 were occupied by Republicans. Of the 25 individual lawmakers who accepted more than $120,000 worth of travel during the study period, 17 were Democrats.

"Power Trips: Congressional Staffers Share the Road" includes a series of radio broadcasts and a website produced and distributed by American Public Media's Marketplace daily business and economics news program and its national documentary unit, American RadioWorks, that begin today on Marketplace Morning Report and Marketplace; a series of more than 30 Medill News Service newspaper articles and website reports; and a package of investigative stories and interactive features at the Center for Public Integrity's website.

For more information, please visit the following URLs:

The Center for Public Integrity

Northwestern University's Medill News Service

American Public Media

Lobbyists Provide Millions in Free Travel for Members of Congress - Public Citizen Report Shows How Lobbyists Use Non-Profits to Exploit Loopholes in Congressional Ethics Rules to Take Lawmakers on Lavish Trips


Schizophrenia is electromagnetic signals sent from NSA (national security agency). The whole world heard these electromagnetic signals called head voices.

Posted by: Yasamin Kabiri at May 19, 2007 08:21 AM

I want these head voices called electromagnetic signals turned off immediately. The congress needs to tie together computer generated electromagnetic signals and schizophrenia. The government sends head voices.

Posted by: Yasamin at July 16, 2007 03:14 PM

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