Looks like 13WHAM has decided to get into the act of checking up on Randy’s excursion to Brazil. Exile commented on the story at RochesterTurning.com, here. As for myself, I’ve stayed out of this one, since discussing Congressional trips tends to serve more as political hay than legitimate gripes. Sure, the trips cost money and that’s not good, but it’s a drop in the bucket. I’m more concerned if the trip starts to involve more back-scratching with unsavory elements a la Tom DeLay‘s junkets to the South Pacific.
But Randy, the least you could do is get the story straight. Other Congressmen that were on the same trip aren’t telling the same story:
When questioned about the tourist destinations the group visited, Engel’s office said that the delegation did enjoy several excursions not related to official business–like a visit to Iguazu Falls–but that everyone who went had to pay for those excursions out of their own pockets.Still, Kuhl’s office said that the excursions were related to official business–such as their trip into the Amazon–implying that taxpayers will pay for that.
The bottom line is that Randy’s office appears to be very, very worried and falling back on the “official business” defense. As Exile points out on RT, they justify the trip on some extraordinarily weak grounds, including drug trafficking research and terrorism. Really? Terrorism?
Personally, I think this is one of those situations where politicians do themselves more harm than good. Just tell us what happened, for chrissakes, and get it over with.