Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Fact Finding UPDATE

As noted yesterday, billions of dollars were handed out to Senate and Congress members/staff/family all in the name of "fact-finding". Here's my favorite, as noted in today's Tennessean newspaper:

No Tennessee representative was among the 11 legislators to accept more than $350,000 in trips. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist came the closest with about $257,800 in travel, personally taking 19 of the 147 trips his office listed in congressional disclosure forms.

Frist's trips included 15 speaking engagements and a 2004 trip to Africa paid for by Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief organization.

The European Institute, a Washington-based public policy institution focused on trans-Atlantic affairs, paid for a Frist staffer, as well as an aide to Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Chattanooga, to travel on a fact-finding mission to Paris totaling more than $22,000, according to the report.

Matt Lehigh, Frist's press secretary, said he had not seen the report but said that Frist's fact-finding trips are educationally based and meant to help the Senate majority leader better represent his constituents.

Sen. Frist has "constituents" in FRANCE??

Well, TN does export some $221 million in products to France,

Also worth noting, perhaps explaining all those "fact-finding" or dollar-centered trips is to be found in the following documentation:

Foreigners already own half of the U.S. government's publicly traded debt. As of January, some $2.19 trillion in Treasury securities were in the hands of central banks, including China and Japan, and private investors abroad.

At the end of 2004, the total foreign direct investment in this country — actual factories, office buildings and other tangible assets as opposed to stocks and bonds — came to $1.53 trillion, 8.2 percent more than in 2003.

That investment shows up in all of the 50 states."


  1. Anonymous10:51 PM

    IMHO, these junkets are free vacations to curry favor and buy access. Better for the republic they be defined in legislation as bribes.

  2. Bribes? O focurse they are!! But how can we get them to change the Biz as usual phrase to a term that actually defines them as what they really are?
    Like they used to say on Sesame Street (or was it K Street?) "B is for Bribes"