Pelosi Turns In Delinquent Reports for 3 Sponsor-Funded Trips
Tuesday, July 5, 2005
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) filed delinquent reports Friday for three trips she accepted from outside sponsors that were worth $8,580 and occurred as long as seven years ago, according to copies of the documents.
The filing is among hundreds of revisions from members of both parties who have amended missing or incomplete reports as scrutiny of lawmaker travel has intensified.
The most expensive trip was not reported on Pelosi's annual financial disclosure statement or on the travel disclosure form that is required within 30 days of a trip.
A more common violation among members filing corrections was to list a trip on the annual statement but not file the more detailed form about a specific trip. The House ethics committee plans to examine the tardy disclosures after being stalled since January in partisan disputes.
Committee members have shown no appetite for taking up all those cases and are considering an amnesty for reporting violations, although not for serious matters such as accepting a trip from a lobbyist, which House rules forbid. The data firm PoliticalMoneyLine calculates that members of Congress have received more than $18 million in travel from private organizations in the past five years, with Democrats taking 3,458 trips and Republicans taking 2,666.
Pelosi, who was elected House Democratic leader in November 2002, said in a letter to the ethics committee: "Although the current travel issue has focused on trips that have taken place since 2000, I have further reviewed my record of privately funded travel prior to becoming part of the Democratic Leadership." She said that "as a result," she was filing three forms, two for trips that she had reported on her annual statements.
The unreported trip was a week-long 1999 visit to Taiwan, paid for by the Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce, for "meetings with government, military and business officials," according to a filing Pelosi signed June 30. The flights cost $3,400 each for Pelosi and her husband. The hotel cost was $940. The sponsor, which has picked up trips for leaders of both parties, paid $300 for meals.
Pelosi said she had provided "a good faith estimate" of the cost of the other two trips, since her "office records for that period do not indicate the costs." In 1998, NBC paid for a $200 trip to New York for a "Meet the Press" appearance, according to the filing. In 1999, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee paid $300 for transportation to Delray Beach, Fla., and $40 for meals for Pelosi to appear at a reception and briefing.
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), vice chairman of the House Republican Conference, said the filing is new evidence that the focus on House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) has been disproportionate. "Democrats have just as many substantive questions," Kingston said.