After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s congressional delegation (CODEL) trip to Belgium, Egypt and Afghanistan was spiked by President Donald Trump when he stopped the use of military aircraft, it put a spotlight on Pelosi’s prior use of military aircraft and on the use by Congress in general.
Some, like former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino, have called such trips an excuse for luxury vacations.
And now documents just released are revealing information about a European vacation that Pelosi took to Europe three years ago.
From Daily Caller:
Pelosi’s trip to Italy and Ukraine from July 30 to Aug. 6, 2015, cost the Air Force $184,587.81, according to documents released Saturday under a 2015 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit by Judicial Watch. Her delegation was made up of nine other members of Congress, including Democratic Reps. Anna Eshoo of California and Marcia Fudge of Ohio.
Four family members, including Pelosi’s husband Paul Pelosi, were on the trip. The delegation dined at restaurants including James Beard American Restaurant in Milan, where a five-course meal cost up to $190, according to Fine Dining Lovers. The lawmakers also toured the Vatican and met up with Italian dignitaries, including President Sergio Mattarella and then-Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, according to their itinerary.
The Daily Caller notes that the amount compares to sending a student to Harvard for four years.
Also by comparison, Republican Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner’s CODEL trip with multiple stops in east Asia as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations in 2015 cost about $26,009.03 for commercial flights and per diems, according Judicial Watch, citing FOIA documents.
Judicial Watch has been calling Pelosi out for “abuse” of the perk for years, noting that it has cost the United States Air Force $2,100,744.59 over one two-year period — $101,429.14 of which was for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol.
“Purchases for one Pelosi-led CODEL on May 15-20, 2008 included: Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Bailey’s Irish Crème, Maker’s Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewar’s scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey, Corona beer and several bottles of wine,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said.
“@SpeakerPelosi used the Air Force aircraft for a total of 85 trips, covering 206,264 miles, from March 2, 2009 through June 7, 2010. Pelosi, her guests and Air Force personnel logged a total of 428.6 hours on these flights. Numerous trips were made by Speaker Pelosi between San Francisco and Andrews Air Force Base. Several of these trips included members of Speaker Pelosi’s family,” he noted.
One of the other problems noted by DOD in documents was that Pelosi frequently scheduled trips most weekends and then canceled at the last minute.
From Judicial Watch:
In response to a series of requests for military aircraft, one Defense Department official wrote, “Any chance of politely querying [Pelosi’s team] if they really intend to do all of these or are they just picking every weekend?…[T]here’s no need to block every weekend ‘just in case’…” The email also notes that Pelosi’s office had, “a history of canceling many of their past requests.”
One DOD official complained about the “hidden costs” associated with the speaker’s last minute changes and cancellations. “We have…folks prepping the jets and crews driving in (not a short drive for some), cooking meals and preflighting the jets etc.”
Pelosi failed to respond to inquiry from the Daily Caller about her trips and expenditures.