Loopholes extend Las Vegas junket

Feb. 14, 2012 at 9:43 AM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- About a dozen members of Congress and staff enjoyed four days in Las Vegas for one day's attendance at the Consumer Electronics Show, records indicate.

Travel disclosure reports filed with the House Ethics Committee show some participants used a loophole to skirt a 2007 rule change that generally limit such trips to only one day, Roll Call reported Tuesday.

The 110th Congress enacted rules that bar entities that have lobbyists from sponsoring most forms of congressional travel that last for more than a day.

However, it allows an additional night's lodging in "exceptional" circumstances and also permits travelers to extend a trip by paying for the extra days themselves.

By combining the two provisions, a one-day trip morphed into four or more days for some lawmakers and staff, the Washington publication said.

At least 51 lawmakers and staffers attended this year's mid-January electronics trade show compliments of the association. The group shelled out more than $74,000 for their airfare, hotel, accommodations and other expenses, tallies provided by LegiStorm indicated.

Among those who extended their one-day trip were Rep. Billy Long, R-Mo. and Benjamin Branch, chief of staff to Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y, Roll Call reported.

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