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Report: U.S. lawmakers bend ethics rules

Dec. 7, 2009 at 10:25 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Ethics rules designed to curb U.S. congressional junkets have had mixed success, with some lawmakers exploiting loopholes, The New York Times reported Monday.

The newspaper said Monday it examined 1,150 trips by U.S. lawmakers and found instances in which rules established to limit the influence of corporate lobbyists were bent or broken.

The Times cited a trip by Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., to tour a prince's vineyard in Liechtenstein at the expense of a group of European companies; a flight provided to Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., from a big donor to Inner Mongolia to lobby for a new medical supplies factory in rural China; and a privately sponsored trip to the King David Hotel in Jerusalem and a gala party near the Western Wall provided to Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.

"Many organizations that are seeking to educate congressional leaders on a range of topics receive money from a variety of sources to better enable them to do so, without any cost to taxpayers," a Sensenbrenner spokeswoman told the newspaper.

Davis told the Times said he saw nothing wrong with a financial contributor flying him to help close a private business deal, while Ros-Lehtinen declined to comment on her trip.

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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