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DeLay cites only U.S. trips on House disclosure form
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON — House Majority Leader Tom Delay, R-Texas, who faces questions about the financing of his past travels abroad, stayed close to home in 2004, reporting five trips — all domestic — paid for by outside groups.
In financial-disclosure statements released yesterday, many House members reported taking trips paid for by think-tanks, corporations and nonprofits. Such groups may pay for these trips under House rules, as long as they are reported. But House rules don't allow members to take trips paid for by lobbyists or registered foreign agents.
Congressional travel has been scrutinized more closely since news reports this year revealed that DeLay took a trip to a Scottish golf resort in 2000 arranged by a lobbyist now under federal investigation and another trip in 2001 to South Korea arranged by an organization registered as a foreign agent.
DeLay vehemently has insisted he did nothing wrong and offered repeatedly to explain his travel to the House ethics committee, paralyzed by a partisan dispute since January.
Since the reports on DeLay's travels, other House members — Democrats and Republicans, and staff members — have filed a flurry of reports about trips they had failed to disclose.
DeLay reported taking a three-day trip to St. Michaels, Md., in January 2004, and another three-day trip to Richmond, Va., in November 2004. The trips were retreats paid for by the Congressional Institute, a nonprofit.
Also in January of last year, DeLay traveled from Philadelphia to New York at the expense of IDT, a telecommunications company whose chairman, Howard Jonas, was honored by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying group.
In February 2004, the Barbara Sinatra Children's Center underwrote a DeLay trip to Palm Springs, Calif., for a charitable event. Two months later, he traveled to Miami, courtesy of the DeLay Foundation for Kids.
DeLay, who earned a $175,700 salary in 2004 as a House leader, reported assets that included ExxonMobil worth $50,001 to $100,000. He earned dividends on that stock worth $1,001 to $2,500.
Disclosure rules require lawmakers only to report values of assets and liabilities within broad ranges. Nor must they report the value of personal residences, unless they receive rental income.
Speaker Dennis Hastert's salary in 2004 was $203,000. He listed a Washington town house valued at $250,001 to $500,000, with a mortgage of $50,001 to $100,000. He also collected rents of $5,001 to $15,000 on the property and listed a Bear Stearns mutual fund worth $50,001 to $100,000.
House Majority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., listed assets that included his 41-acre farm in Strafford, Mo., valued at $250,001 to $500,000. He also owns a condominium in Branson, Mo., worth at least $100,001 and a financial interest in Churchill Coffee, worth $50,001 to $100,000.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., listed a Legg Mason mutual fund as his major asset, at $250,001 to $500,000.
Nine of the House's 435 members received extensions to file their reports later.
Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company