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Companies lobbying government, colleges seeking star speakers and groups eager for information or face time paid for $2.3 million in trips over six years for White House officials, a watchdog organization reported Wednesday.
Powerful presidential confidants, like President Bush's political guru, Karl Rove, and President Clinton's national security adviser, Sandy Berger, shared in this bounty.
More than 620 White House aides took free trips between late 1998 and late 2004 to speak to conferences in Paris, Rome and other foreign capitals, Hawaii and Florida, ski resorts in Colorado and Switzerland. Of course, less exotic locales, like Detroit, Cleveland and Oklahoma City, also were among more than 350 destinations.
"These trips are often indirect conduits to influence policy," Gary Bass, executive director of OMB Watch, another private watchdog group, told the center.
The center found:
A third of the trips were paid for by entities registered to lobby the federal government. In all, White House officials accepted free travel from 216 companies and organizations that reported spending more than $1.1 billion lobbying between 1998 and 2004.
Originally posted by RANT
I'm sure every 'conservative' that every mustered the brazen irony to utter the words "travel" and "gate" together is now ready to call for the resignation of the entire Bush administration and apologize to Al Gore. Because integrity is important to right wingers.