Tags: senators | expensive | travel

Sens. Cornyn, Schumer Fly High on Public Dime

By Jim Meyers   |   Thursday, 11 Jun 2009 10:30 AM

Sens. Chuck Schumer and John Cornyn each spent over $140,000 in taxpayer money on travel in the first half of the fiscal year — about 10 times as much as some of their Senate colleagues.

Cornyn, a Texas Republican, topped the list by taking costly charter flights around his state and spending nearly $40,000 on a retreat in Maryland for 59 staffers.

Schumer, a New York Democrat, was close behind, routinely flying private charters to cities in his state served by commercial airlines, a report by Politico disclosed.

Politico cited one trip Schumer made in early December, when he spent $4,000 to fly round-trip on a private plane between New York City and Albany. Commercial fares on that route can be as low as $200.

Schumer took 25 chartered flights within his home state during a six-month period, with price tags of up $7,000.

"We are living in a world where members of Congress are treating themselves to an elite lifestyle on the taxpayers' dime," declared Leslie Paige, spokeswoman for Citizens Against Government Waste.

"Charter flights should be the choice of last resort. It shouldn't be used like a cab."

Three other senators also spent more than $100,000 on travel — Bob Corker, R-Tenn.; Patty Murray, D-Wash.; and Kit Bond, R-Mo.

Each senator receives from $2 million to $4 million a year to pay for travel, staff and other expenses. These funds should not be used to pay for purely political trips.

But Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and Schumer, past chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, "may have taken" political trips paid for by taxpayers, according to Politico.

Newsmax's Insider Report recently disclosed that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered representatives to begin posting their expense reports online to give the public easier access to their spending records.

Senators are not required to post their reports online, although Sen. Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, has said he would introduce a bill requiring senators to do so.

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