Boosted by a notably globe-hopping February, privately funded trips taken during the first quarter by Congress topped $1.5 million for the second consecutive year, according to LegiStorm data.
Private sponsors spent $1.51 million on trips for members of Congress and their staffs during the first quarter of this year, a dip from the $1.63 million spent in the first quarter last year, which was the highest since a series of scandals prompted Congress to pass reforms in 2007 that limited lobbyists' ability to fund travel.
More than half that total, or $850,000, was spent in February, marking the busiest month - excluding traditionally travel-heavy August - in more than 8 years.
Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), a House Armed Services Committee member, and his wife Denise took the most expensive trip. Their week spent in Adelaide, Australia cost Australian defense industry nonprofit Defence Teaming Centre Inc. $49,635. In fact, it was the most expensive trip on record. The second-most expensive trip, by Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) to Tanzania and the Sudan, cost $40,083.