A bombshell investigation reveals millionaire members of Congress are squandering hardworking taxpayers’ money on “official” foreign travel junkets, which appear to be vacations in disguise!
An exhaustive National ENQUIRER analysis shows the greedy reps have racked up a whopping $32 million in overseas travel expenses during the last four years, with many of them blowing five-figure amounts on airfare alone!
“It’s gross, it’s out of touch with what average Americans are concerned about, and it’s embarrassing,” fumes David Williams, president of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, a Washington, D.C., government watchdog. “People were suffering from the pandemic and our representatives were still jetsetting around the world.”
U.S. government records show Republicans and Democrats alike are guilty of sparing no expense as they scoot around the globe on the American taxpayers’ dime.
“They’re milking taxpayers like dairy cows!” declares another watchdog, Adam Andrzejewski, CEO and founder of OpenTheBooks.com.
In one particularly blatant example, Wyoming’s Republican Sen. John Barrasso, who has a net worth estimated at more than $5.6 million, spent $11,488 flying to the Arabian nation of Qatar in late 2020. At the same time, some 11 million Americans were still out of work from the ravages of COVID-19. Alarmingly, the tally could have been much worse as the pandemic curtailed travel in the past two years. The elected officials spent $1.8 million in 2020 and $2.2 million for foreign excursions through the first three quarters of 2021, the latest available figures for that year. In contrast, they splurged nearly $28 million in the two previous years.
Even with the pandemic putting the skids on lawmakers’ wanderlust, the $32 million spent on foreign trips from 2018 to 2021 still works out to an average of nearly $60,000 for each of Congress’ 535 members. By comparison, the average annual income for a man working full time in 2020 was $61,417, while a woman made just $50,982, the Census Bureau reports.
To uncover the high-flying culprits, The ENQUIRER scoured the foreign travelexpenses that committees in both the House and Senate are mandated to publish in the Congressional Record. Shockingly, the data reveals members broke the bank in booking dozens upon dozens of commercial itineraries exceeding $10,000 for themselves and staffers — when the average International airfare ticket costs $1,049, according to the Airlines Reporting Corporation.
In another example, last November Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.) spent nearly $15,000 of taxpayer money on airfare for a three-day trip to Albania to visit Afghan refugees awaiting passage to the U.S. A spokesman for Valadao blames the pricey airfare on last-minute itinerary changes due to a late vote in Congress on the day of Valadao’s departure.
And in August 2019, Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) blew a hefty $21,713 on airfare to Oceania.
Andrzejewski cheered The ENQUIRER for exposing what he describes as Congress’ “out of control” foreign travel spending.
“Congress insists this is necessary for educational purposes so they can make informed decisions,” he says. “But [our own research shows] the top destinations are Paris, Brussels and Berlin. Oftentimes, their ‘education’ looks suspiciously like a fancy vacation.”
Congress does not appropriate money for foreign travel each year. Members simply go wherever and whenever they want, and the U.S. Treasury coughs up the dough.
Sources note the totals do not reflect the true amount the free-spending politicos cost taxpayers for foreign flings — because the figures don’t include flights the reps take on military planes.
“Military flights aren’t free,” Williams tells The ENQUIRER, “And once the members arrive, there are also hotel costs, transportation and room service fees. These costs really add up, although it’s unclear what benefit the taxpayer is getting for a $30 hamburger.”
In yet another example, records show House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) led a 32-member delegation to Britain for a four-day trip in November 2021. The participating House members all flew on military jets, yet the trip still cost nearly $100,000.
“In a world of technology and being able to communicate via Zoom and digitally, you don’t need huge delegations traveling on the taxpayers’ dime,” blasts Williams. “You can accomplish the same thing with one or two members and a few staff. It’s clearly wasteful.” NE