The government watchdog group Judicial Watch obtained documents from the Air Force detailing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s use of US Air Force aircraft for Congressional Delegations (CODELs). According to the documents obtained by Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Speaker’s military travel cost the United States Air Force $2,100,744.59 over a two-year period — $101,429.14 of which was for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol.
The following are highlights from the recent release of about 2,000 documents related to Pelosi’s travel:
•Speaker Pelosi used Air Force aircraft to travel back to her district at an average cost of $28,210.51 per flight. The average cost of an international CODEL is $228,563.33. Of the 103 Pelosi-led congressional delegations (CODEL), 31 trips included members of the House Speaker’s family.
•One CODEL traveling from Washington, DC, through Tel Aviv, Israel to Baghdad, Iraq May 15-20, 2008, “to discuss matters of mutual concern with government leaders” included members of Congress and their spouses and cost $17,931 per hour in aircraft alone. Purchases for the CODEL 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, Dewars scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey, Corona beer and several bottles of wine.
•According to a “Memo for Record” from a March 29—April 7, 2007, CODEL that involved a stop in Israel, “CODEL could only bring Kosher items into the Hotel. Kosher alcohol for mixing beverages in the Delegation room was purchased on the local economy i.e. Bourbon, Whiskey, Scotch, Vodka, Gin, Triple Sec, Tequila, etc.”
•The Department of Defense advanced a CODEL of 56 members of Congress and staff $60,000 to travel to Louisiana and Mississippi July 19-22, 2008, to “view flood relief advances from Hurricane Katrina.” The three-day trip cost the U.S. Air Force $65,505.46, exceeding authorized funding by $5,505.46.
“Speaker Pelosi has a history of wasting taxpayer funds with her boorish demands for military travel. And these documents suggest the Speaker’s congressional delegations are more about partying than anything else,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
Judicial Watch previously obtained internal DOD email correspondence detailing attempts by DOD staff to accommodate Pelosi’s numerous requests for military escorts and military aircraft as well as the speaker’s last minute cancellations and changes.