Sunday, April 24, 2005

Joe Biden - Frequent Flyer

Photo courtesy Sen. Joe Biden
AFGHANISTAN: Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., visited there in January 2002, not long after the fall of the Taliban.

With all of the discussion of House Majority Leader Tom Delay's ethics and his travel schedule comes this story out of Delaware about Senator Joe Biden:

....From 2000-2004, Delaware's congressional trio of Biden, Carper and Castle have taken hundreds of trips, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to House and Senate records examined by The News Journal. The trips range from official taxpayer-funded fact-finding missions into war zones, to privately funded trips for speaking engagements or seminars at luxury resorts.

In 2004, for instance, Biden took 16 privately funded trips, worth a total of $48,482. Carper took five paid trips, for a total of $7,740. And Castle took just one, which cost $4,088...

...Biden has the highest travel profile in the delegation, in part because he is in demand as a guest on television news programs like "Meet the Press." More than half of the privately funded trips he's taken in the past five years were paid for by news organizations...

...Last September, Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism examined more than 4,800 trips that members of Congress had taken at private expense from 2000-2004. The study ranked members according to the number of trips taken, and the amount of travel money accepted from business groups, think tanks and other organizations.

As of September 2004, Medill ranked Biden 26th out of 582 members of Congress, with 48 trips in four years, worth a total of $90,906. Castle, who took fewer trips, but visited expensive destinations, ranked 41st in Congress with 16 trips valued at $69,671. Carper took 11 trips, at a cost of $10,402 to private interests, ranking him 356th out of 582 members.

Biden racked up the largest single-trip tab of the three Delaware politicians: the investment firm Forstmann, Little & Co. paid $17,000 to send a private jet to deliver Biden to a four-day conference in Aspen, Colo., last September...

Ok, are we going to apply the conflict of interest rules fairly?

How is Biden's travel so different than Delay's?

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