Private groups spent more than $135,700 for members of Congress and their staff to travel during August recess

Special interest groups spent more than $135,700 on travel for members of Congress and their staff during the August recess, according to official documents reviewed by Insider.

A total of 14 trips took place. Although these trips don’t use taxpayer money, some argue that they’re an excuse for Congress members to go on expensive vacations. On one of the trips, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association partnered up with 15 biofuel groups – including the Iowa Corn Growers Association and the Iowa Soybean Association – to spend $14,362.60 for 13 congressional staffers to attend the Annual Biofuels Science and Sustainability Tour in Iowa. The trip included a dinner at the Iowa State Fair and visits to major cities in the state.

Most of these trips touched on other issues that have been at the top of Congress’ agenda. For instance, the Foundation for Rural Service spent $18,932.94 to send 11 congressional staffers on a trip to Montana where they met with broadband companies and learned about the difficulties people in rural areas have in accessing the Internet.

On another trip, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, a trade group, spent $9,754.82 to send four Republican staffers and one Democratic staffer to Las Vegas to learn about telehealth. The staffers attended HIMSS’ annual conference and stayed at the Mirage Hotel, documents show.

The most expensive trip in August took three GOP House members abroad to Kyiv, Ukraine, for a price tag of $46,933.94. Rep. Barry Moore of Alabama and Reps. Troy Nehls and Tony Gonzales of Texas stayed at the Opera Hotel, meeting with business and cultural leaders. The Humpty Dumpty Institute – an organization that pays for members of Congress to travel around the world – and the American Charity Fund for Helping Children of Pridnestrovie and Moldova Inc. paid for the trip [MSN].


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