The Trips Not Taken (or at Least Not Reported)

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 04: House Energy and Commerce Committee Health Subcommittee member Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) delivers opening remarks during a hearing about what Medicare beneficiaries should expect under the Affordable Care Act in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill December 4, 2013 in Washington, DC. The panel of witnesses testified about the affects of the ACA on the Medicare Advantage program.
National Journal
Add to Briefcase
Shane Goldmacher
Jan. 9, 2014, 4 p.m.

The dis­clos­ure re­quire­ments for con­gres­sion­al ex­ped­i­tions un­der­writ­ten by for­eign na­tions aren’t just weak — they’re por­ous. Be­cause law­makers don’t re­veal the trips to any cent­ral au­thor­ity, no one is check­ing, or even can check, if they’ve prop­erly re­vealed their travels on an­nu­al fin­an­cial-dis­clos­ure forms.

For in­stance, Rep. Phil Gin­grey, R-Ga., went to Taiwan in May 2011 but nev­er dis­closed the trip. Na­tion­al Journ­al learned of his travels through a re­view of emails filed by lob­by­ists with Park Strategies. After our in­quir­ies, Gin­grey spokes­man Camer­on Har­ley said the trip had been “in­ad­vert­ently left off the con­gress­man’s 2011 fin­an­cial-dis­clos­ure state­ment due to an ad­min­is­trat­ive over­sight which has since been rec­ti­fied.”

There is no way to know how com­mon such un­der­re­port­ing is.

What is clear is that if in­form­a­tion on law­makers’ jaunts is sparse, the dis­clos­ure of their aides’ trips is lit­er­ally nonex­ist­ent. About 75 per­cent of the people who work on Cap­it­ol Hill are not re­quired to file fin­an­cial forms at all. So when these lower-level aides travel abroad on cul­tur­al-ex­change trips, it is nev­er dis­closed.



Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.