By Megan R. Wilson - 06/24/14 06:00 AM EDT
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) took a flight valued at $9,000 on the private jet of a Mexican media mogul last year, according to recently filed financial disclosure forms.
The two men have known each other since before Cruz became a U.S. senator in 2013, Cruz’s office said, and met through a mutual friend.
On February 15, 2014 the two men’s families flew from Austin, Texas to Ixtapa, Mexico for three days. A spokeswoman for Cruz said the Senate Ethics Committee approved the trip.
Lawmakers are required to list trips and gifts on their annual financial disclosure reports.
Cruz’s every move as senator is coming under the spotlight as he prepares for a possible run for the presidency in 2016.
The senator has a minimum net worth of about $1.1 million, including at least $25,000 in credit card debt and a mortgage worth anywhere from $250,000 and $500,000, the disclosure forms show. In his assets, Cruz lists a loan of $500,000 to $1 million to his campaign.
Records with the Federal Election Commission show he gave his campaign $1.43 million between 2011 and August 2012, before winning election to the Senate. In 2013, he paid himself back about $300,000.
The vacation with de la Vega wasn’t the only trip that Cruz took in 2013.
Last May, Hillsdale College in Michigan paid for Cruz to give a commencement speech to graduates, according to the Senate Office of Public Records.
The financial disclosure forms indicate that the college paid $300 for ground transportation, $97.50 for lodging and $40.00 to provide meals for the senator.
So far in 2014, the Texas senator took two privately sponsored trips — each conferences or speaking engagements for American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation, the powerhouse conservative think tanks. The travel costs for the two engagements totaled more than $2,300, including $1,380 in flights, according to Senate records.