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Posted by John Sugden on May 19, 2014

U.S. senators detailed their finances late last week, revealing outside income from such sources as book deals and even a junket paid by a Mexican media mogul on behalf of a possible presidential candidate.

The junket was reported by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who said that he took a private plane trip from Austin to Ixtapa, Mexico valued at $9,000. Cruz said it was paid for by Alejandro Junco, apparently referring to the Texas-educated CEO of Mexico's largest print media company, Grupo Reforma. Cruz justified the trip as being based on a "personal friendship."

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) reports he also received free travel, although he doesn't disclose a destination. He said he received the gift from Cortez Kennedy, a neighbor of Nelson's in Orlando who played in the NFL. Nelson valued his portion of the $7,000 charter flight as $2,300.

Of the 84 disclosures submitted, 16 senators reported royalty agreements with book publishers during 2013. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) reported receiving $70,000 as a book advance from Simon and Schuster. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) listed receiving royalties for his various entertainment industry work but did not disclose details. The royalties are apparently paid to Alan Franken Inc., a company he did not draw any income from last year but which he values as being worth $500,001-$1 million.

Additionally, 16 also listed either farm, ranch or unimproved land ownership. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) reported making between $35,004 and $110,000 from mineral rights he owns.

According to Sen. Maria Cantwell's (D-Wash.) disclosure, she has yet to recoup the personal loan she gave to her 2000 campaign worth more than $1 million. 

Sixteen senators filed extensions to the May 15 due date. Despite the Senate's move to a searchable electronic filing system, nine members opted to file their disclosures the old-fashioned way, on paper.


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