LegiStorm

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 Weekly Updates

LegiStorm is constantly adding new information on the people, places and reports in our database. In the past week, LegiStorm added:

  • 41 new people
  • 117 new organizations
  • 44 new photos
  • 337 job history records for people in our database
  • 97 education records for people in our database
  • 108 contact addresses, emails and URLs (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)
  • 7 new people through the revolving door
  • 239 new policy reports
  • 111 new trips to our privately funded travel database
  • 17 new personal financial disclosures
  • 47187 new tweets
  • 4847 new press releases
  • 53 new town halls
  • 49 new hearings
 CAUGHT OUR EYE
 SOCIAL MEDIA

 DEVBLOG
 IN THE NEWS
Lawmaker Bonuses vs. Military Pay

by WHIO-TV (Dayton, Ohio) on 05/05/2015

Action News Investigates: Military salary limitations

by Action News Jacksonville on 04/30/2015

Cochran aide enters not guilty plea on drug charges

by Hattiesburg (Miss.) American on 04/29/2015

At least 6 former Schock aides now subpoenaed

by Chicago Tribune on 04/28/2015

Ic-trips Privately funded Travel - Only Part of the Congressional Travel Picture

While the LegiStorm database contains information on 29,125 trips taken in the last seven years, the full scope of congressional travel is still obscured from public view. Many free trips that members and their staff take, probably the vast majority, are not reportable under these private trules rules. These free trips that can be found in other kinds of disclosures, or are not disclosed at all, includes ones:

  • paid from taxpayer allowances provided to members for official office expenditures;
  • paid for by the U.S. government, or a state or local government in the United States;
  • paid for by foreign governments;
  • paid for by elected representatives or staff for campaign purposes;
  • paid for by personal friends;

Often times, members of Congress and their staff disclose trips they never needed to since they were not privately financed. Dozens of trips in our database were actually paid for by U.S. federal government agencies. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who is a frequent traveler, disclosed flying at the expense of New Orleans taxpayers to introduce Mayor Ray Nagin at his reelection inaugural less than a year after that city was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The disclosure was unnecessary by law.

One standout in disclosure is Sen. Norm Coleman. The Minnesota Republican, one of the top ten congressional travelers according to disclosures filed with the Secretary of the Senate, has gone beyond congressional travel disclosure requirements by placing information about all of his congressional trips - disclosable or not - on his website: http://coleman.senate.gov/_pdfs/Privately_travel_5.pdf.

Coleman's full disclosure illustrates well how LegiStorm's database can only tell part of the story when it comes to congressional travel. In 2003, for example, our database shows that Sen. Coleman disclosed 18 "privately financed" trips, although it appears that seven of these trips did not need to be disclosed because they were campaign-related. According to his website, he took 33 trips total during that year. The other trips were paid for by sources connected to his political party or by government sources (his Senate office, a Senate committee, or the military).

About Congressional Travel Sections