House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly requested military aircraft to shuttle her and her colleagues and family around the country, according to a new report from a conservative watchdog group.The problem is two fold in the hypocrisy front. First, House Democrats (under Pelosi's leadership) have made a big deal on the environmental front over the use of gas guzzling cars, but a military plane burns a lot of fuel flying back and forth to California. (It should be noted that Dennis Hastert's round trip was shorter than Pelosi's one way trip). Second, from an economical standpoint, what's wrong with flying commerical regularly--it helps the economy, right?
Representatives for Judicial Watch, which obtained e-mails and other documents from a Freedom of Information request, said the correspondence shows Pelosi has abused the system in place to accommodate congressional leaders and treated the Air Force as her "personal airline."
Pelosi's office disputed the claim, pointing to White House policy enacted after the Sept. 11 attacks allowing for the House speaker to travel to his or her congressional district via military aircraft whenever possible for security reasons. Her office said she typically uses the same kind of aircraft used by her predecessor, Dennis Hastert.
But Judicial Watch said that Pelosi was notorious for making special demands for high-end aircraft, lodging last-minute cancellations and racking up additional expenses for the military.
The e-mails showed repeated attempts by Pelosi aides to request aircraft, sometimes aggressively, and by Department of Defense officials to accommodate them.
When Members of Congress travel abroad on official business, flying in a military aircraft puts the full weight and power of the U.S. behind their trip. I don't have a problem with that concept and think it appropriate. But flying commerical domestically, just make sense (and it is cheaper). I think that any Member of Congress or Senator who is flying within the United States should be required to fly commercial or on stand by with the military and fly on military aircraft only when the aircraft is going that way with a military purpose and not just to shuttle Members of Congress around. Otherwise, book your flight on Southwest or US Air or anywhere else.