For at least five of the last six years, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and several other members of the Congressional Black Caucus have spent a few days each fall at a different luxurious Caribbean island resort.
This year’s trip took place Nov. 6 to 9, the weekend after the election, on the sun-swept 10-acre Sonesta Maho Beach Resort in St. Martin.
An invitation to the conference sent to Kilpatrick from the St. Martin government stated that the trip offers “a fine opportunity to combine business with pleasure on our island, with a wide variety of activities, a pulsating nightlife, absolutely duty-free shopping and 37 beautiful beaches to choose from.”
Yes, Charlie Rangel, the tax dodger who writes tax law, which is the enforced by the IRS, which is now under the command of another tax dodger. But that’s not important right now. The important thing is, these trips seem to have run afoul of congressional ethics rules.
Ethics rules bar corporations or other entities that employ or retain a registered lobbyist from paying for multi-day trips, either directly or indirectly.
Yet two spokeswomen for American Airlines, the largest carrier from the U.S. to the Caribbean, told The Hill that the company recently provided in-kind donations of tickets for Rangel and five other members of Congress to fly from their districts to St. Martin… American Airlines has spent more than $6 million on lobbying in the first three-quarters of this year.
Naturally, each of the five congresscritters who took part in this is a Democrat:
- Charlie Rangel (NY
- Donald Payne (N.J.)
- Sheila Jackson Lee (TX)
- Carolyn Kilpatrick (Mich.)
- Bennie Thompson (MS)
- Donna Christensen (Virgin Islands)
Only Jackson Lee said she paid her own way for the trip this year.
It’s okay, though. Only Republican voters worry about ethics.