OCTOBER 01, 2017
The issue of government officials, elected and appointed, abusing travel privileges is an old one. In 2007, the Government Accountability Office reported that federal employees wasted at least $146 million over a one-year period on business and first-class airline tickets, in some cases simply because they felt entitled to the perk. Among the worst offenders was the U.S. State Department, whose employees typically fly abroad on official business.
The watchdog group Judicial Watch reported that Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s travel cost the United States Air Force $2.1 million over one two-year period — and about $101,000 was for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol. The short-lived scandal was dubbed “Air Pelosi,” as her critics complained the California congresswomen treated the Air Force like a taxi service.
Judicial Watch’s work exposing Pelosi’s travel abuses resulted in her successor John Boehner, in a fit of ethics, declining to use Air Force luxury jets to travel to his Ohio congressional district. Republican Speaker Paul Ryan told Judicial Watch that he has declined use of Air Force jets to travel between his congressional district in Wisconsin and Washington, D.C.