(USA Today) Some congressional lame ducks are flying the globe during their final months in office.
Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., for instance, announced in January that he would not seek re-election to a 16th House term this year, citing family health concerns. In April and May, however, he and his wife racked up nearly $33,000 in travel to Taiwan and Bahrain, courtesy of private groups.
Burton is among nine lame-duck lawmakers who have accepted free travel from outside groups since announcing their retirements or losing their seats in primary elections, according to a USA TODAY tally of data compiled by the non-partisan Political MoneyLine. More than a dozen lame-duck senators and House members also have traveled abroad at taxpayer expense, congressional records show.
The lawmakers describe these trips as fact-finding missions that will shape their thinking on legislation. Citing partisan stalemates on Capitol Hill, Craig Holman of the watchdog group Public Citizen instead calls them “vacations for retiring members of Congress.”
“We’ve got a Congress that isn’t doing anything,” Holman said. “The trips aren’t educational. They have no meaningful purpose for government policy.”
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