JANUARY 12, 2010
An army of U.S. lawmakers, their spouses and congressional staffers racked up an exorbitant tab to attend the laughable United Nations climate summit in Denmark last month and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was in charge of the invite list, doesn’t want Americans to know how much they dished out for the lavish jaunt.
Madam Speaker, who uses the U.S. military as her personal airlines, handpicked the lawmakers who attended the world conference which failed miserably to deliver a so-called global climate deal. Twenty federal legislators made the trip, but the number of Congress-related attendees was more than 100 when spouses and staffers are added.
The information, which Pelosi has worked hard to keep secret, was made public this week by a major news outlet that has been digging around since the not-so-prestigious or influential U.S. delegation returned. It included House Tax Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (a member of Judicial Watch’s 2009 “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians”) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. Getting details about the trip was like trying to get the keys to Ft. Knox, according to the news report.
In all, the congressional delegation used at least three military jets (ironically, spitting out enough climate-stunting carbon dioxide to fill 10,000 Olympic swimming pools) which cost taxpayers around $168,000 in flight time alone. Dozens of other legislators and their staff paid up to $2,000 each to fly commercial.
U.S. taxpayers also financed 321 nights at a five-star Copenhagen hotel and tens of thousands of dollars worth of meals, drinks and fancy snacks. One Republican senator, Oklahoma’s James Inhofe, said attendance among his colleagues was high because “it’s the biggest party of the year.” He added that the worst thing that happened in Denmark is that they “ran out of caviar.”
None of the climate-conscious U.S. lawmakers seemed bothered that they spent so much money to attend an event that didn’t even come close to meeting its goal of convincing the world to curb greenhouse gas emissions. After all, the money didn’t come out of their pockets but rather from American taxpayers. And the party, it seems, was fantastic.
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