AUGUST 05, 2009
Although lawmakers repeatedly chastised the private jet travel of government-bailed auto executives, the nation’s so-called public servants have covertly allocated hundreds of millions of public dollars to buy fancy new airplanes to ferry them around the globe.
The three Gulfstream 550 jets—each costing about $65 million—will be purchased with a $332 million allotment that Congress conveniently slipped into a defense bill. Passed in the House last month, the measure originally included nearly $200 million for one executive jet but the House Appropriations Committee added an additional $132 million for two more, according to the Capitol Hill paper that broke the story this week.
The multi million-dollar addition specifies that the two extra elite planes be assigned to the District of Columbia units that fly members of Congress and top government officials. To circumvent earmark disclosure laws, the $132 million allotment was classified as an “expansion” of an existing Defense Department program so the legislation need not reveal what lawmaker requested the additional funds.
The taxpayer-financed planes are luxury business jets touted for their exceptional comfort and up to four distinct living areas, three temperature zones and a choice of a dozen floor plan configurations with seating for nearly 20 passengers. Public servants evidently feel they deserve no less, even though they’re supposed to fly commercial and many do.
The aircrafts are operated by the U.S. Military and members of Congress, especially Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have been exposed for abusing the perk. Earlier this year Judicial Watch made public Department of Defense files documenting how the Speaker wastes valuable taxpayer dollars by using the military aircrafts as her personal airline to ferry her and her relatives around the world.
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