Members of Congress and their staffs took 2,175 privately-funded junkets worth nearly $6.2 million in 2015 — the most frequent and expensive annual trip totals since 2005, according to LegiStorm.
Rep. Jim McDermott led Congress with seven trips worth $45,593 in 2015. The Washington state Democrat was bested on the cost by another Democrat, California’s Rep. Alan Lowenthal, whose trips to Berlin and Israel were worth the most at $46,734, according to LegiStorm — a group that compiles and publishes mountains of data and other information about members of Congress and their staffs.
The 2015 totals exceeded the previous highs in 2005 when Congress took 4,917 trips worth nearly $10 million. Congress has taken fewer lobbyist-funded trips since passing ethics reforms in 2007, which requires full disclosure of lobbyist-funded travel.
The Congressional Institute, which describes itself as a “not-for-profit corporation dedicated to helping members of Congress better serve their constituents,” sponsored 547 trips in 2015, more than any other group.
The West Bank and Israel were the most popular destinations for privately financed trips in 2015, at 269 junkets worth $3.8 million.
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