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Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Kent Cooper
Washington is once again hurtling toward a budget crisis, but you couldn't tell from the travel itineraries of members of Congress.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, America's chief business lobby, spent $40 million on lobbying in the last three months of 2012, according to the disclosure report it filed with Congress.
After President Obama lays his hand on a Bible and takes the oath of office for a second White House term next month, he will be surrounded by pomp, circumstance and celebration bought and paid for by the very special interests he once vowed to disenfranchise from Washington politics.
"This type of free trip not only covers the members' expenses but provides a rare opportunity for the sponsor to cover the costs of a spouse or family member," Mr. Cooper wrote recently in his Political MoneyLine blog highlighting the Ireland trip. "For members who are not home that much, the free trip is a great payback to the spouse. The spouse or family member has plenty of time for sightseeing and enjoying the foreign city."
"The true costs of CODELs should be much more transparent, especially on transportation costs, which is the largest component. Up to now CODEL travel reports usually state that military transportation was used and no true or even estimated cost is disclosed," Cooper said, who runs CQ's Political Money Line.