Author Topic: Why Are Members of Congress Using Your Money to Fly First-Class?  (Read 281 times)

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Offline happyg

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Katie Pavlich

When was the last time you flew first-cass on an airplane? For most people, the answer is never or once or twice thanks to an upgrade. I fall into the latter category. Not to mention, those who can afford to pay for first-class tickets, aren't doing it on the backs of taxpayers...unless of course you serve in the U.S. Congress.

Last year, Bloomberg Businessweek ran a feature titled, The Pampered World of Congressional Air Travel. The story detailed the cushy and expensive travel bookings Congressman and Senators make on a regular basis with frequent trips back and forth to their home states and districts. The cost to taxpayers is enormous, but could be much less if they'd simply swallow their pride and sit in coach with the rest of us.

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There is no more pampered class of air traveler than members of Congress.

 At Washington’s Reagan National Airport, they have their own special parking spaces—right up close to the terminal—that they don’t even have to pay for. As Bloomberg Television’s Hans Nichols reports, this perk costs the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority $738,760 in foregone revenue.

 To members of our fly-in-Tuesday-fly-home-Thursday Congress, these perks are a big deal. Most fly a lot, and many fly first class. They don’t just jet home to their districts. Sometimes, they’re jetting around the world at taxpayer expense ($23,646, to be specific), as Democratic Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee of Texas did in February.


Now, Republican Reps. Paul Gosar and Walter Jones along with California Democrat Rep. Raul Ruiz are looking to end the first-class treatment out of respect for taxpayers. Earlier this week Gosar wrote and submitted a request with Ruiz and Jones to the Committee on Appropriations asking that language prohibiting lawmakers from traveling first-class on the taxpayer dime be added to the Fiscal Year 2015 Legislative Branch Appropriations Act.

"As with all federal spending, Member's Representational Allowance funds are taxpayer dollars. As such, the use of these funds must be exercised with the utmost efficiency and transparency. A loophole currently exists that allows members of Congress to fly first-class at the expense of the taxpayer. Members of Congress are servants of the people and should not be considered a privileged class. Luxury airfare accommodations utilizing taxpayer monies would seem inappropriate in any fiscal climate but at a time of soaring deficits and with a federal debt in excess of $17 trillion such expenditures are especially wasteful," the request states. "If federal restrictions prohibit members of our military from traveling first-class, this same standard should also apply to Members of Congress."

Respect for taxpayer money, what an amazing concept.

"One of my top priorities is eliminating waste, fraud and abuse within the bloated federal bureaucracy. Accordingly, Members of Congress shouldn't be allowed to fly first class on the taxpayer's dime," Gosar said in a statement. "It's absolutely wasteful and completely unacceptable that Members of Congress - servants of the people - are currently allowed to fly first class using hard-earned taxpayer money, especially at a time when our ballooning national debt threatens the fiscal security of generations to come. The taxpayers deserve accountability from their government and oversight on how it spends their money."
http://townhall.com/tipsheet/

Offline Relic

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Re: Why Are Members of Congress Using Your Money to Fly First-Class?
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2014, 03:09:20 PM »
Because they can, and because very few people are paying attention.

We get the government we deserve.

Offline Gazoo

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Re: Why Are Members of Congress Using Your Money to Fly First-Class?
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2014, 03:15:54 PM »

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INSIDE EDITION Investigates Congressional Cars

Airdate: 05/01/2012

In these tough times Americans are looking for ways to save.  So it may surprise you that many members of congress are driving around in luxury cars that are paid for with your tax dollars and its perfectly legal.  Inside Edition's Lisa Guerrero and the I-squad spent two months investigating congressional car leases.

When Congressman Gregory Meeks of Queens, New York makes the rounds in his home district, he does it in style - in a Lexus 450 hybrid. This kind of luxury doesn't come cheap. His Lexus costs a whopping $1,289 a month to lease. But that's no problem for Congressman Meeks because he's not paying for it. You are.

And his colleague, Congressman Edolphus Towns of Brooklyn, NY also has a taste for an expensive set of wheels. We found him zipping around town in a luxurious Lincoln MKZ hybrid, costing $957/month - and you paid for that too.

Taxpayers we spoke with were outraged.  "I can't afford a luxury vehicle, I don't know why they should have one.," said a New York City woman.

"It just doesn't make sense that taxpayers would be paying for that.," said another.

"I find it outrageous and a misuse of funds," a young woman fumed.

Joe Barton, the fiscally conservative congressman from Texas cruises around in an impressive Chevy Tahoe that costs you $999 a month. "It drives real well," Barton told Inside Edition.

Barton says he sees nothing wrong with the hefty price tag and even offered to take an Inside Edition reporter for a ride.    He says he leased the car because it's manufactured in his district, at the GM assembly plant in Arlington, Texas.  "It's an official vehicle paid for by the taxpayers and it's used in my official duties," said Barton.

INSIDE EDITION found at least 82 out of 435 U.S. representatives lease cars for use in their home District.
 
Some have taste for luxury, like Congressman Bobby Rush, of Illinois, who represents President Obama's home district in Chicago.  Rush rides around in a $1,027/month Lexus hybrid.

Inside Edition's findings are getting a lot of attention, including the O'Reilly Factor.

"C'mon congressmen.  I lease a car and pay about $600 a month and it's a nice car," said O'Reilly on his popular cable news program.

 Most of the congressmen we observed riding around in those expensive leases were not eager to talk about their leases, so Inside Edition Chief Investigative Correspondent, Lisa Guerrero went to Washington to get some answers.

Lisa Guerrero asked Rep. Meeks, "Do you realize you lease one of the most expensive cars in congress?"

Meeks responded, "All I know is that I go by the rules, look at the list, it has to be approved,  I  go by the rules to serve the people of my district."
 

Congressman Towns of New York didn't want to talk about his $957 Lincoln hybrid lease. Maybe that's because he's on a committee that's investigating the notorious GSA scandal involving that notorious $800,000 convention in Las Vegas.     

"You are spending almost $1000 dollars a month on the taxpayer dime, do you think that's appropriate?" asked Guerrero.

"Which car are you talking about?" replied Towns.

 "Your most recent car.  I know before you were leasing something for more than 1200 a month, right now it's a Lincoln."

"You tell me what car you're talking about," Towns asked

 "It's a Lincoln hybrid."

 "I have to talk to my staff; they handle all that kind of stuff, that's not something I'm involved in," Towns replied.

While we were looking for Congressman Towns' car, we also noticed his wife driving another luxury vehicle, an Infiniti, with congressional tags. She was observed day after day - driving to the carwash, the dry cleaners and back and forth to work at a local hospital. But Towns doesn't pay for that car either. We found records showing the $602 lease on the Infiniti is paid for with the congressman's campaign funds.  Experts say that is an apparent violation of campaign finance rules.

Guerrero said, "Your wife has been driving a car that's paid for with campaign funds, is that appropriate?"

Towns said, "I have no idea what you are talking about"

All the Congressmen say they are just abiding by the rules and doing nothing wrong

To see a list of members of the House who lease tax payer-funded vehicles, click on the PDF document at the top of this story.


http://www.insideedition.com/investigative/4276-inside-edition-investigates-congressional-cars

INSIDE EDITION Report Prompts Watchdog Group to Call for Investigation of NY Congressman's Use of Campaign Funds - News from InsideEdition.com
http://www.insideedition.com/investigative/4471-inside-edition-report-prompts-watchdog-group-to-call-for-investigation-of-ny-congressmans-use-of
"The Tea Party has a right to feel cheated.

When does the Republican Party, put in the majority by the Tea Party, plan to honor its commitment to halt the growth of the Federal monolith and bring the budget back into balance"?

Offline aligncare

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Re: Why Are Members of Congress Using Your Money to Fly First-Class?
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2014, 03:32:18 PM »
Don't worry, folks. Once Republicans take the senate and the white house, that's when the public (through the urging of the MSM) will suddenly get outraged. That's when investigation really start flying.
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Offline Oceander

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Re: Why Are Members of Congress Using Your Money to Fly First-Class?
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2014, 03:34:46 PM »
Don't worry, folks. Once Republicans take the senate and the white house, that's when the public (through the urging of the MSM) will suddenly get outraged. That's when investigation really start flying.

of course

Offline Relic

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Re: Why Are Members of Congress Using Your Money to Fly First-Class?
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2014, 03:56:00 PM »
Don't worry, folks. Once Republicans take the senate and the white house, that's when the public (through the urging of the MSM) will suddenly get outraged. That's when investigation really start flying.

This is another area where the genius of the left shines. The left has convinced a good number of Americans that the media is corporately controlled, and therefore, leans heavily to the right. And for reasons I don't understand, Americans tend to believe the media in spite of contradictions that they see and/or experience.

IF you can convince someone to accept the media's leftist bias, you can make a strong case for voting Republican. I think we'd all agree, politicians, in general, aren't trustworthy. If you establish the media bias, and the bad nature of politicians, then it's a no-brainer, one has to vote Republican.

1 - If you vote Democrat, you have the worst case scenario, a person with bad character in a position of power, with very little scrutiny.
2 - If you vote Republican, you have someone with bad character in a position of power, with media members working overtime to find misdeeds, (and even inventing misdeeds).

Neither is ideal, but #2 is much, much better than #1.

Online EC

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Re: Why Are Members of Congress Using Your Money to Fly First-Class?
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2014, 04:09:24 PM »
Because they can, and because very few people are paying attention.

We get the government we deserve.

My dear wife is cabin crew. A stewardess, from less enlightened times. She tends to work first class because she has the seniority, is old enough to tolerate shit that would choke a buffalo, and can take down someone while armed with only a teapot. She HATES the Washington runs but has a routine now.

Bear in mind, she has to be polite, no matter how much of a dick someone is being.

They will pull the "Do you know who I am?" thing. Her inevitable answer is "Yes. Someone who is making my life difficult." Don't know if it is the delivery or the glare that goes with it, but most of them shut up fast.  :silly:
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Offline Gazoo

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Re: Why Are Members of Congress Using Your Money to Fly First-Class?
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2014, 03:46:44 PM »
My dear wife is cabin crew. A stewardess, from less enlightened times. She tends to work first class because she has the seniority, is old enough to tolerate shit that would choke a buffalo, and can take down someone while armed with only a teapot. She HATES the Washington runs but has a routine now.

Bear in mind, she has to be polite, no matter how much of a dick someone is being.

They will pull the "Do you know who I am?" thing. Her inevitable answer is "Yes. Someone who is making my life difficult." Don't know if it is the delivery or the glare that goes with it, but most of them shut up fast.  :silly:

They all need to ride AMTRACK or a bicycle. And we need to stop paying for their expensive car notes, already!
"The Tea Party has a right to feel cheated.

When does the Republican Party, put in the majority by the Tea Party, plan to honor its commitment to halt the growth of the Federal monolith and bring the budget back into balance"?


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