Lobbyists paid for members' trips

Lobbying firms and lobbyists were listed as paying all or part of the costs for 90 congressional trips taken between 2000 and 2005, according to a new report by the Center for Public Integrity, Northwestern University’s Medill News Service and American Public Media.

Lobbyists and lobbying firms are not allowed under congressional ethics rules to pay for congressional travel. Trade associations can pay for travel as long as the purpose of the trip is educational.

According to the Center for Public Integrity’s website, around 20 percent of the forms that listed lobbyists or lobbying firms as sponsors of the trips had been amended to list new sponsors to comply with ethics rules.

The total cost of the trips was roughly $145,000.

The new report is part of an investigation into congressional travel. Last week, the Center for Public Integrity, Medill News Service and American Public Media reported that over the past five and a half years members of Congress and their aides went on 23,000 trips that were paid for by private interests, at a total cost of $50 million.