More Junkets for Dems

First it was Puerto Rico. Then it was a trip to Belgium and other spots for Nancy Pelosi. Now we discover that some Dems have traveled to South Africa for a Beyonce concert.

Why not? The peoples’ business can take a hike when the prospect of a free trip arrives.

The Washington Examiner explains:

Five members of the Congressional Black Caucus took an official three-day trip to South Africa to be feted as VIPs at a Beyonce and Jay Z concert, according to congressional disclosure records.

The stated purpose of the $60,000 trip in December was to attend the “Global Citizen Mandela 100” concert, the stated purpose of which was to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the late Nelson Mandela and raise awareness of global poverty. The extravaganza was headlined by Beyonce, Jay Z, Ed Sheeran, Pharrell Williams, and Chris Martin.

Democratic Reps. Gregory Meeks, Barbara Lee, Bobby Rush, Terri Sewell, and Hank Johnson attended the event with VIP backstage passes. Also at the concert was Deborah Birx, U.S. Global AIDS coordinator and special representative for Global Health Diplomacy.

According to disclosure forms, the trip was paid for by the nonprofit group Global Citizen, an organization that lobbies governments to fund anti-poverty programs. The event was co-sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, Coca Cola Africa, CISCO, NedBank, Vodacom, HP, and Microsoft.

The lawmakers, all members of the Congressional Black Caucus, flew business class to Johannesburg, South Africa, for the concert and stayed in a four-star hotel from Dec. 1 to Dec. 3, according to the disclosure records.

The National Legal and Policy Center, a government watchdog group, said the all-expenses trip made a “mockery” of House ethics rules that prohibit members of congress from accepting paid trips that are not directly related to their official duties or that “create the appearance that the [individual] is using public office for private gain.”

“These members of Congress that were given an all-expense paid vacation to party with Oprah, Jay Z, and Beyonce in South Africa are claiming with a straight face this was needed to help poor children around the world live better lives,” said Tom Anderson, president of the NLPC’s Government Integrity Project.

“This was in fact, a mockery of House ethics rules on gifts and travel, the truly poor, and all Americans that expect members of Congress to live not only by the letter of the law but by the spirit and intentions of the rules of the House of Representatives.”

With as many holidays as Congress gets, you can expect even more vacations for Dems. The sky’s the limit – and so is the cost – when it comes to Democrats in power.

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