WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- U.S. House of Representatives members took January trips paid for by special interests after they voted for new restrictions taking effect this week.
The non-partisan group PoliticalMoneyLine compiled records showing that since Jan. 5, 19 House members accepted airfare, meals and lodging from special interests, including groups that employ lobbyists, USA Today reported.
Most of the travel reported by House members would be exempt under the new rules because the trips were paid for by groups that don't hire lobbyists.
However, five of the trips were sponsored by organizations that lobby Congress and would not be allowed under the new rules taking effect Thursday. The changes, approved in early January when Democrats took control of the House, were a response to corruption scandals like the one that sent former lobbyist Jack Abramoff to prison.
Melanie Sloan, executive director of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, told USA Today the trips demonstrate that lawmakers are trying to see what they can get away with.