Posted by Curt on 30 May, 2005 at 4:07 pm. Be the first to comment!


Now this cracks me up:

WASHINGTON – Scrutiny of Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s travel has led to the belated disclosure of at least 198 previously unreported special interest trips by House members and their aides, including eight years of travel by the second-ranking Democrat, an Associated Press review has found.

At least 43 House members and dozens of aides had failed to meet the one-month deadline in ethics rules for disclosing trips financed by organizations outside the U.S. government.

The AP review of thousands of pages of records covered pre-2005 travel that was disclosed since early March. That’s when news stories began scrutinizing DeLay’s travel, prompting lawmakers to comb through their files to make sure they had disclosed their travel.

While most of the previously undisclosed trips occurred in 2004, some date back to the late 1990s. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer recently disclosed 12 trips, the oldest dating back to 1997.

Stacey Bernards, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Democrat, said the office searched the files after the travel issue was raised initially by “Republicans doing opposition research to deflect from their own ethical issues.”

Hoyer’s undisclosed trips were nearly doubled by Rep. Ellen Tauscher (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., with 21. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (news, bio, voting record), D-Ill., reported 20 past trips and Rep. Elijah Cummings (news, bio, voting record), D-Md. reported 13.

Republican and Democratic House members were nearly equal rules violators in failing to disclose their personal trips within 30 days after the trip’s completion. There were 23 GOP members, 19 Democrats and 1 independent, all of them months or years late in their reporting to the House public records office.

Staff members for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., disclosed 11 prior trips, while staff members for DeLay, R-Texas, had 4. Rep. John Linder (news, bio, voting record) of Georgia, a former chairman of the House Republican campaign organization, belatedly filed 9 trips, as did Rep. Maxine Waters (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif.

The volume of unreported trips surprised the former chairman of the House ethics committee, Rep. Joel Hefley (news, bio, voting record), R-Colo.

“I didn’t realize the extent of the problem,” Hefley said. “There is no particular sanction (for tardiness) if you come back and file. They get lax. They don’t think about it.

If you didn’t see this coming you have your head in the clouds.

I can just see it now, soon McCain will form a coalition and introduce legislation to cut the Democrats a break.

FullosseousFlap?s Dental Blog has a great pictorial of the offenders.


Glass Houses – Update
Glass Houses


The Captain has dug up some interesting facts:

It appears that Caitlin O’Neill, who works for Nancy Pelosi, forgot to file her disclosure form (PDF) for a trip she took to Havana, Cuba. O’Neill, who BR says is the granddaughter of former Speaker Tip O’Neill, identifies the purpose of her trip — as an official duty of Congress — as “religious education”.

Has religious education become an official government duty? What would Pelosi’s allies at the ACLU say about that?

That’s not the end of the unusual aspects of this trip. Expenses totaled almost $1400 for the five-day trip to Havana, including $400 for meals. Of course, the American taxpayer didn’t get stuck with this bill, which is the reason O’Neill and Pelosi had to file the disclosure. The entire cost of O’Neill’s trip was borne by the Universal Life Church.

This is where the questions really start. From reading its website, the ULC doesn’t require much in terms of religious education for its membership or its clergy. In fact, the church openly states on its website that it grants ordination on line, instantly, for free:

You can become a legally ordained minister, instantly, online, at this website. The Universal Life Church is totally non-denominational, interfaith and welcomes all religions. After you fill out the ordination form, you will receive a pop-up instant credential, which serves as your receipt of your ordination. Print it immediately.

This I believe has the smell of something big. How is it that an aide to Pelosi took a trip to Cuba (funny in itself since we still have a embargo and travel restrictions in place against that country) paid for by what looks like is a fake church?

A loony liberal aide visiting a atheist country for religious education….this has gotta be a joke.

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