Tuesday, March 9, 2010


In the wake of the travel scandal that has forced U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel to stop down from his post as chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs has published a study of congressional trips to Israel funded by the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF), which is considered an independent entity from its parent group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which self-identifies as “America’s Pro-Israel Lobby.”

The AIEF was established to get around the congressional prohibition on corporate sponsored travel that Congress imposed on itself following the Jack Abramoff scandals. Rangel was admonished by the House ethics committee last week for traveling to the Caribbean under corporate sponsorship, although he insisted he was unaware of whop bought his ticket.

The whole report can be read here: http://www.israel-palestinenews.org/2010/03/congressional-junket-front-page-news.html but we thought it would be more useful to compare the non-voting delegates and the Hawaii delegation to put the travel into some sort of perspective.

It will come as no surprise to regular readers of this blog that despite having any responsibility for U.S.-Israeli relations, Faleomavaega is by far the biggest recipient of AIEF funds for travel to Israel. Although he only took two trips on AIEF’s nickel, they were beuts, averaging over $16,000 per trip. Runner up was Hawaii Rep. Maizie Hirono, who spent $12,000 of AIEF’s money for a single visit to Israel.

Madeleine Bordallo, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, took only one trip but, at $6,600, it cost only about half of Hirono’s junket. Hawaii Senator Dan Akaka’s one trip was even cheaper at $4,600. These were the only four who took any AIEF sponsored trips at all. The other six did not travel to Israel at AIEF expense. All 10 are Democrats. Here are the figures:

Abercrombie, Neil (D-HI 1) $0.00 0
Akaka, Daniel K (D-Hawaii Senate) $4,610.00 1
Bordallo, Madeleine Z (D, GU-AL) $6,599.15 1
Christian-Christensen, Donna (D-VI AL) $0.00 0
Faleomavaega, Eni F H (D-AS AL) $32,598.15 2
Hirono, Mazie K (D-HI 2) $12,258.26 1
Norton, Eleanor Holmes (D-DC AL) $0.00 0
Inouye, Daniel K (D, HI Senate) $0.00 0
Pierluisi, Pedro (D-PR AL) $0.00 0
Sablan, Gregorio (D-MP AL) $0.00 0

Of course, you can expect Samoa News, where Faleomavaega's sister-in-law is an editor, will sweep this under the rug but it really wouldn't matter because his constituency would be proud to know their champion has once again stuck it to the man. You go, Eni!

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