Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas) recently returned from his first privately funded trip since taking office in 2013. Vela made it count, traveling to Bogota, Colombia.
The Brownsville Economic Development Council paid the $1,700 tab for Vela for the trip. The Texas Democrat represents the city of Brownsville, which occupies the southernmost tip of the state. Its proximity to Mexico, just across the Rio Grande River, makes Brownsville a hub for international trade.
According to its filing, Filomena traveled to Colombia's capital for a breakfast at which he spoke to a group of more than 100 Colombian businessmen in an apparent effort to drum up investment in his district.