Congress Spent $21.2 Million on Their Own Overseas Travel Since 2005
As workplace perks come, free travel to anywhere in the world is one of the better ones.
While it is hard to envision your employer covering a trip to Israel, United Kingdom, France, Germany or United Arab Emirates, members of Congress get exactly that.
Between 2005 and 2018, members of Congress and their committee staffers took 16,367 trips, with those countries being the top destinations.
Our auditors at OpentheBooks.com looked at congressional travel from 2005 to 2019, and last year we issued a report titled “Congressional Membership Has Its Privileges” on the various perks.
We did not pull data on congressional travel expenses for 2020, as worldwide travel was disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Members of the House of Representatives are limited to 60 consecutive days for official travel to other countries with their costs reimbursed upon their return and leadership approval. Senate members have no limit to the length of their permitted official travel.
In 2019, the House spent $4.3 million on overseas travel, including on the one-week trip to Australia that Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) took for $23,000.
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) spent $75,000 on an 11-day trip to Italy, Morocco and France, while Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) spent $14,357 on a one-week trip to Germany, Niger, Nigeria, Mali and France.
Congress-sanctioned and paid for voyages are not limited to members. Committee staffers also get to travel.
Three House Appropriations Committee staffers flew to Mozambique and Malawi during a seven-day trip, costing $54,600, or $18,200 per person.
Five staffers of the House Armed Service Committee flew to Japan and Australia during a five-day trip, costing $103,493, or $20,698 per person.
You tax dollars at work.
The #WasteOfTheDay is presented by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com.