Monday, October 25, 2010

Blanche Lincoln's closing ad

Posted By on Mon, Oct 25, 2010 at 12:46 PM

A grace note — and one last kick at those dastardly unions. She really does appear to be ready to blame her loss on Bill Halter. Too bad every Republican in Arkansas wanted to run because polls have showed her in deep trouble for two years.

ALSO: A Lincoln volunteer who formerly worked on the staff of John Paul Hammerschmidt has compiled from a variety of public sources the significant amount of taxpayer-financed public travel John Boozman has done in just a five-year span. More than a month a year in travel all over the globe (not merely to visit troops in the Middle East as he'd have you believe.) It's too little, too late for this sort of thing, I'm afraid, but it gives you some idea of what Boozman has been doing while not doing anything for constituents except voting the Republican Party line.

FROM LINCOLN VOLUNTEER BILL CARDIN

Congressman Boozman’s Overseas Travels

Congressman John Boozman visited foreign countries for six months during the five years between February 2004 and February 2009, according to public records. The travel cost him nothing. The estimated cost to taxpayers far exceeded a million dollars.

In the five-year period, he spent 181 days in foreign travel status visiting 44 countries in 25 round trips. He received an average $342 a day in expense money, a total of $63,000 for food, lodging, ground transportation, etc.

Congressman Boozman’s substantial per diem total was dwarfed by the more than one million dollars in the estimated airtime cost for his plane flights on large 747-size military transport planes provided by the Department of Defense.

On seventeen occasions he joined in Congressional Delegation (CODEL) trips to foreign lands, in planes set aside for the exclusive travel of U.S. Representatives and/or Senators. The usual maximum number of CODEL passengers is twelve. Their aircraft offers all the amenities of Class-A commercial flight including soft leather-back seats, a fully stocked food and drink pantry, empty rows for snoozing, and uniformed Air Force attendants to meet each CODEL member’s every wish and need;

The shortest European flight, Washington to London, takes an average of 15 hours. Each hour a 747-size plane is in the air costs $22,000 (Air Force, 2006). Thus, the one-way flight cost per plane is $330,000, making $27,500 the average taxpayer-paid minimum cost share for each of twelve CODEL passengers.

So $935,000 is Congressman Boozman’s estimated taxpayer cost for 17 CODEL round trips (34 X $27,500). Adding per diem payments, the near one million dollar total understates by hundreds of thousands of dollars the full estimated costs of the Congressman’s overseas travels. Most of the 17 CODEL destinations were hundreds and thousands of miles and many, many flight hours beyond London. Mr. Boozman’s CODEL trips also involved side visits to three, four, or five other countries, purpose not disclosed. Costs of eight other committee-sponsored round trips are not included the estimate.

When asked in the past about his trip taking, Mr. Boozman has cited eleven visits Iraq and Afghanistan, seeing U.S. troops on active duty or in hospital. He has implied that his presence as an elected Federal lawmaker was a positive factor, boosting morale of military personnel. The record shows that he visited Iraq twice in the five years under examination, and does not list an Afghanistan visit.

Senator Blanche Lincoln made one overseas visit between February 2004 and February 2009. She flew to Colombia, sponsored by the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, part of the White House Executive Office. The purpose was to seek improved trade relations and opportunities with South American countries.

Following is a list of taxpayer-paid foreign trips by Congressman Boozman, by type and countries visited Feb 2004 to Feb 2009. (Source, CQ Moneyline.)

North AtlantIc Treaty Organization Parliamentary Assembly CODEL

Twelve overseas trips to 17 countries: Austria, Belgium (five visits), Denmark, France (seven visits), Germany (three visits), Greece, Ireland, Italy (three visits), Morocco, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom (three visits).

Non-NATO Congressional Delegations (CODELs)

Five trips to 10 countries including Cyprus, Georgia, Kenya, Kuwait, Indonesia, Portugal, Senegal, Thailand, United Kingdom twice.

Non-CODEL visits

Three trips sponsored by House Foreign Affairs Committee to Ethiopia twice, France, Iraq, Italy, Ivory Coast, Germany, Jordan, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda, and Zambia.

Three trips sponsored by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to Egypt, Israel, Germany, Ghana, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco twice, Poland, Romania, South Africa, and Switzerland.

Two trips sponsored by the House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs to Germany, Iraq, Italy, and Kuwait.


Re Bill Cardin, worker for Blanche Lincoln’s reelection

WWII ground combat veteran, China-Burma-India

Employment career based on broadcast journalism and writing

NBC News Desk Supervisor, Washington, D.C. 1964-6

15 years key positions with five Republican Members of Congress

Retired 1995, forebears from Fort Smith and Sebastian County

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