Travel ban has Republicans at odds

March 16, 2006 at 5:02 PM

WASHINGTON, March 16 (UPI) -- U.S. House of Representatives Republicans are reportedly at odds over whether lobby reform should include a ban on privately funded congressional travel.

Many legislators moved for extensive changes in the way lawmakers deal with lobbyists after Jack Abramoff pleased guilty to charges related to his lobby business. Abramoff is most often linked to Republicans.

Among the more eye-catching events staged by Abramoff were exotic client-funded golf trips for legislators.

Some members of the Republican House leadership proposed Wednesday that such privately paid travel be banned -- temporarily -- to help Congress earn back credibility with the U.S. public, The New York Times reported.

But not all members want such travel to go away. Reps. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Dan Lungren, R-Calif., are seeking to allow the travel if the lawmakers get prior approval and post information about the trip on the Internet.

Flake told the Times: "People are afraid to stand up and say, 'I want private travel.' It's become a political issue."

House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, is against such a travel ban and did not appear at Wednesday's announcement, but told the Times, "There's some discontent over that."

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