When President Trump released a letter informing Nancy Pelosi that her planned travel on what amounts to an overseas junket had been “postponed,” it put the scandal of these trips on the taxpayer dime back in the spotlight.
The congressional delegation, or CODEL as it’s known, was supposed to be led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the middle of the ongoing partial government shutdown. A group of seven lawmakers, along with top staffers, families, friends and donors were headed to Brussels.
Not so fast.
These Air Force luxury planes are at the beck and call of Congress who loves using the planes to fly them, their families, friends and donors all over the world. Former Secret Service agent, who has been on his share of these trips had this to say:
In 2009, after the mainstream media opposition Party failed to follow up on concerns raised about Nancy Pelosi’s use of luxury Air Force jets to travel between her congressional district and D.C.; Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information act requests exposed her abuse of the so-called “CODEL” travel perk.
Judicial Watch uncovered that at the time, Pelosi’s military travel cost the United States Air Force $2,100,744.59 over one two-year period — $101,429.14 of which was for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol.
Welcome to; “Air Pelosi.” Look at these ridiculous details:
- Pelosi used Air Force aircraft for a total of 43 trips, covering 90,155 miles, from January 1 through October 1, 2010. The Air Force documented in-flight expenses for 22 of these flights totaling $1,821.33. The Air Force did not provide expense information for the remaining 21 flights.
- Former Speaker Pelosi received chocolate-covered strawberries as a birthday surprise on a March 26, 2010, flight. According to one internal Air Force email sent on March 25, 2010: “The speaker’s office is requesting egg salad sandwiches on wheat toast with fruit (watermelon, etc) for desert (sic). It’s the speaker’s B-Day tomorrow so we’re also asking for something like chocolate covered strawberries (dark chocolate preferred)…” The immediate response to the email from another member of the Air Force staff: “Copy all. We’ll plan something for the birthday and take care of the meal.”
Despite a conservative media firestorm over her military travel abuses, Pelosi continued to use the Air Force as her own personal airline up until her final days as House Speaker. Now, she’s back and so are the incredibly wasteful, unecessary and costly trips – all billed to the taxpayer.
In one case the cost of the flight was estimated at $83,000. She reimbursed the Air Force $800. They should audit every member of Congress who has used these travel methods every junket every so called fact-finding mission and they should be required to pay the actual costs
.@SpeakerPelosi used the Air Force aircraft for a total of 85 trips, covering 206,264 miles, from March 2, 2009 through June 7, 2010. Pelosi, her guests and Air Force personnel logged a total of 428.6 hours on these flights.
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) January 18, 2019
That’s enough miles to fly around the earth over eight times… in 15 months!
And, reserving flight time every weekend in advance so that the preferred aircraft might be available, and then cancelling, she could care less and has no concern for the crew members who are constantly having their lives, and those of their families, disrupted.
-One DOD official complained about the “hidden costs” associated with the speaker’s last minute changes and cancellations. “We have…folks prepping the jets and crews driving in (not a short drive for some), cooking meals and preflighting the jets etc.”
-The documents include a discussion of House Ethics rules and Defense Department policies as they apply to the speaker’s requests for staff, spouses and extended family to accompany her on military aircraft. In May 2008, for example, Pelosi requested that her husband join her on a Congressional Delegation (CODEL) into Iraq. The DOD explained to Pelosi that the agency has a written policy prohibiting spouses from joining CODEL’s into combat zones.
-Documents obtained from the U.S. Army include correspondence from Speaker Pelosi’s office requesting an Army escort and three military planes to transport Pelosi and other members of Congress to Cleveland, Ohio, for the funeral services of the late Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones. Pelosi noted in her letter of August 22, 2008, that such a request, labeled “Operation Tribute” was an “exception to standard policy.”
-The documents also detail correspondence from intermediaries for Speaker Pelosi issuing demands for certain aircraft and expressing outrage when requested military planes were not available. “It is my understanding there are no G5s available for the House during the Memorial Day recess. This is totally unacceptable…The speaker will want to know where the planes are…” wrote Kay King, Director of the House Office of Interparliamentary Affairs. In a separate email, when told a certain type of aircraft would not be available, King writes, “This is not good news, and we will have some very disappointed folks, as well as a very upset [s]peaker.”
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Author: Raymond Draper
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