House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s use of military aircraft came under scrutiny last week after President Donald Trump cancelled her congressional delegation trip to Belgium, Egypt, and Afghanistan.
Pelosi’s use of government aircraft is not new. In fact, documents obtained and released by government watchdog Judicial Watch last week reveal the extent to which Pelosi has used military aircraft in the past, costing taxpayers millions.
What are the details?
One trip in particular — to Milan, Rome, Naples, and Kiev — has received considerable scrutiny. The 2015 trip, from July 30 to Aug. 6, cost the Air Force $184,587.81, documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act show. Pelosi, along with several other Democratic members of Congress, made the trip with members of their families.
The exact purpose of the trip remains unclear. A Politico news story at the time alleged Pelosi’s congressional delegation “intended to underscore the U.S. commitment to security in that region.”
However, FOIA documents suggest the lawmakers treated the trip more like a vacation, even petitioning the Air Force for a specific flight clewfor the duration of the trip, a laughable and arguably selfish request.
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The Italy trip included Milan, Rome and Naples with visits to the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, Duomo and viewing Da Vinci’s “Last Supper.”
The documents also show the Air Force’s negative response to a Pelosi staff request for a specific crew for Pelosi’s flight. An official notes that it: “would be a disastrous precedent to set even if it were possible.” The Air Force further points out: “Our ARC crews have plenty to balance already with military duties and their civilian employers.”
Indeed, Pelosi has a lengthy history of abusing special travel privileges afforded to lawmakers. In 2011, Judicial Watch exposed Pelosi’s rampant use of luxury Air Force jets to travel between Washington, D.C., and her congressional district in California, a 5-hour, 3,000 mile journey each direction.
In just a two-year period, Pelosi accumulated $2,100,744.59 worth of travel expenses, which included $101,429.14 for in-flight conveniences, such as food and alcohol.