Nancy Pelosi is one of the richest members of Congress. In 2007, she ranked 6th in the House in total wealth, with assets of at least $62.5 million. Despite that, she shamelessly exploited her perquisites as Speaker of the House, bilking taxpayers for millions in luxury travel, food, and wine for herself, family, and friends — until the very end.
H/t beloved fellow Tina.
By Tom Fitton – Judicial Watch – January 26, 2011
Despite the media firestorm over her military travel abuses, Nancy Pelosi continued to use the United States Air Force as her own personal travel agency right up until her final days as House Speaker according to documents we uncovered from the Air Force.
According to these new documents, which we obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Pelosi used Air Force aircraft for 43 flights from January 1 to October 1, 2010. By comparison, Nancy Pelosi logged 47 flights in the previous nine-month period, April 1, 2009, to January 1, 2010, according to previous documents we uncovered.
So, in other words, she did not back off at all from her pattern of abuse.
Here’s a quick summary of what these documents include: a mission activity chart detailing all of former Speaker Pelosi’s flights January 1 to October 1, 2010, as well as detailed shopping lists for some flights, flight authorization forms, mission expense records and internal Air Force correspondence related to the flights.
And here are two quick highlights:
- Pelosi used Air Force aircraft for a total of 43 trips, covering 90,155 miles, from January 1 through October 1, 2010. The Air Force documented in-flight expenses for 22 of these flights totaling $1,821.33. The Air Force did not provide expense information for the remaining 21 flights.
- Former Speaker Pelosi received chocolate-covered strawberries as a birthday surprise on a March 26, 2010, flight. According to one internal Air Force email sent on March 25, 2010: “The speaker’s office is requesting egg salad sandwiches on wheat toast with fruit (watermelon, etc) for desert (sic). It’s the speaker’s B-Day tomorrow so we’re also asking for something like chocolate covered strawberries (dark chocolate preferred)…” The immediate response to the email from another member of the Air Force staff: “Copy all. We’ll plan something for the birthday and take care of the meal.”
…according to previous documents uncovered by Judicial Watch, Pelosi’s military travel cost the United States Air Force $2,100,744.59 over one two-year period — $101,429.14 of which was for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol.
In fact, check out this purchase list from one Pelosi-led congressional delegation traveling from Washington, DC, through Tel Aviv, Israel to Baghdad, Iraq May 15-20, 2008: Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Baileys Irish Cream, Maker’s Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewar’s scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniel’s whiskey, Corona beer and several bottles of wine.
We also uncovered internal Department of Defense (DOD) email correspondence detailing attempts by DOD staff to accommodate Pelosi’s numerous requests for military escorts and military aircraft, as well as Pelosi’s last minute cancellations and changes. For example, in response to a series of requests for military aircraft, one Defense Department official wrote, “Any chance of politely querying [Pelosi’s team] if they really intend to do all of these or are they just picking every weekend?…[T]here’s no need to block every weekend ‘just in case’…” The email also notes that Pelosi’s office had, “a history of canceling many of their past requests.”
And finally, we also uncovered emails from the DOD that show that the Pentagon worked hand-in-hand with congressional offices prior to releasing documents under the FOIA regarding congressional military travel. These “heads up” emails involved FOIA requests filed by Judicial Watch, The Wall Street Journal, Congressional Quarterly and Roll Call, among other organizations, related to the use of military aircraft by a number of congressional members, including Pelosi.
Nancy Pelosi demonstrated an alarming disregard for the men and women in the U.S. Air Force during her tenure as House Speaker. She may be gone from her previous position, and Speaker Boehner may have decided not to follow her corrupt example [and will fly commercial], but this scandal is not only about travel by the Speaker of the House.
Through the speaker’s office, other members of the House are able to obtain permission for the use of military luxury travel for congressional delegation trips abroad. These trips, known as CODELs, have exploded in number and cost. Speaker Boehner needs to reform this abuse of our military’s assets. This is the right thing to do for the U.S. Air Force and for the American taxpayer.