Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained documents from the Department of Defense (DOD) detailing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s multiple requests for military air travel. The documents, obtained by Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), include internal DOD email correspondence detailing attempts by DOD staff to accommodate Pelosi’s numerous requests for military escorts and military aircraft as well as the speaker’s last minute cancellations and changes. The following are a few highlights from the documents, which are linked in full below:
- In response to a series of requests for military aircraft, one Defense Department official wrote, “Any chance of politely querying [Pelosi’s team] if they really intend to do all of these or are they just picking every weekend?…[T]here’s no need to block every weekend ‘just in case’…” The email also notes that Pelosi’s office had, “a history of canceling many of their past requests.”
- One DOD official complained about the “hidden costs” associated with the speaker’s last minute changes and cancellations. “We have…folks prepping the jets and crews driving in (not a short drive for some), cooking meals and preflighting the jets etc.”
- The documents include a discussion of House Ethics rules and Defense Department policies as they apply to the speaker’s requests for staff, spouses and extended family to accompany her on military aircraft. In May 2008, for example, Pelosi requested that her husband join her on a Congressional Delegation (CODEL) into Iraq. The DOD explained to Pelosi that the agency has a written policy prohibiting spouses from joining CODEL’s into combat zones.
- Documents obtained from the U.S. Army include correspondence from Speaker Pelosi’s office requesting an Army escort and three military planes to transport Pelosi and other members of Congress to Cleveland, Ohio, for the funeral services of the late Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones. Pelosi noted in her letter of August 22, 2008, that such a request, labeled “Operation Tribute” was an “exception to standard policy.”
- The documents also detail correspondence from intermediaries for Speaker Pelosi issuing demands for certain aircraft and expressing outrage when requested military planes were not available. “It is my understanding there are no G5s available for the House during the Memorial Day recess. This is totally unacceptable…The speaker will want to know where the planes are…” wrote Kay King, Director of the House Office of Interparliamentary Affairs. In a separate email, when told a certain type of aircraft would not be available, King writes, “This is not good news, and we will have some very disappointed folks, as well as a very upset [s]peaker.”
- During another email exchange DOD staff advised Kay King that one Pelosi military aircraft request could not be met because of “crew rest requirements” and offered to help secure commercial travel. Kay King responded: “We appreciate the efforts to help the codel [sic] fly commercially but you know the problem that creates with spouses. If we can find another way to assist with military assets, we would like to do that.”
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained new documents from the United States Air Force detailing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s repeated use of United States Air Force aircraft. According to the documents, obtained by Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Pelosi used Air Force aircraft on 85 flights from March 2009 through June 2010. Members of Pelosi’s family were guests on at least two flights.
Among the highlights from the documents, obtained pursuant to a FOIA request filed on January 25, 2009:
- Pelosi used the Air Force aircraft for a total of 85 trips, covering 206,264 miles, from March 2, 2009 through June 7, 2010. Pelosi, her guests and Air Force personnel logged a total of 428.6 hours on these flights.
- Members of Pelosi’s family were guests on at least two flights. On June 20, 2009, Speaker Pelosi’s daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons joined a flight from Andrews Air Force Base to San Francisco International Air Port. That flight included $143 in on-flight expenses for food and other items. On July 2, 2010, Pelosi took her grandson on a flight from Andrews Air Force Base to Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, which is northeast of San Francisco.
According to previous documents uncovered by Judicial Watch, the Speaker’s military travel cost the United States Air Force $2,100,744.59 over a two-year period — $101,429.14 of which was for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol. For example, purchases for one Pelosi-led congressional delegation traveling from Washington, DC, through Tel Aviv, Israel to Baghdad, Iraq May 15-20, 2008 included: Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Bailey’s Irish Crème, Maker’s Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewar’s scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey, Corona beer and several bottles of wine.
Records Also Detail Massive Pelosi-Led Bipartisan Congressional Junket to Detroit Auto Show
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Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained new documents from the United States Air Force (USAF) detailing then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s use of USAF aircraft in 2010. The records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which include flight manifests, expense summaries, copies of receipts and Congressional correspondence, detail a number of trips made by Speaker Pelosi in 2010, including:
- A May 6-10, 2010, Congressional Delegation to Afghanistan and Germany “to discuss issues of mutual interest in Qatar and Afghanistan, as well as conduct oversight on women’s issues (troops) in Afghanistan and to visit with US troops and meet with government officials in Germany.” The total cost of military travel was $204,135.00. The records indicate then-Speaker Pelosi made a personal request that the “maximum per diem allowance be made available at the enhanced rate of an additional $50.”
- Numerous trips were made by Speaker Pelosi between San Francisco and Andrews Air Force Base. Several of these trips included members of Speaker Pelosi’s family, including her husband, daughter, granddaughters and son-in law. For example, one “Staff Summary Sheet” detailing a January 4, 2010, flight from San Francisco to Andrews Air Force Base notes that Pelosi’s daughter Christina “owes for $99.00 (flight) and $7.82 (meal).” The documents suggest that the Speaker’s office was billed for the fees but do not indicate whether the bills were paid.
- A January 7-11, 2010, Congressional Delegation to Detroit, Michigan, for the expressed purpose of reviewing “the impact of congressional appropriations and policy in promoting innovation, technological development and job creation in US auto industry.” The Detroit trip required $24,336.60 in commercial air travel and an additional $10,046.87 in expenses. The Pentagon also paid for military escorts for the trip.
- One document notes that the mode of transportation for the trip would be “Comair and Milair,” (commercial air travel and military air travel). However, the only cost related to the military portion of the transportation detailed in the records is a $15,000 advance secured for ground transportation, meals and lodging. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) drove himself to Detroit and sought $228 in mileage reimbursement. A total of 24 House Members (16 Democrats, 8 Republicans), led by then-Speaker Pelosi and then-Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), were on the list of trip participants.
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