Rehberg’s taxpayer funded getaways criticized as ‘government vacations’

NOTE: This week, Montanans for Tester examines Congressman Dennis Rehberg’s 15 luxury getaways around the word, paid by taxpayers, for so-called “fact-finding” missions that had no benefit to Montana.

Congressman neglects to disclose true costs of his worldwide globe-trotting

BILLINGS, Mont. – New research reveals that Congressman Dennis Rehberg has another irresponsible habit: using taxpayer dollars to fund his passion for global jet-setting.

More disturbing is Rehberg’s failure to account for the true cost of trips overseas that even the Wall Street Journal says “appear to be little more than government vacations.”

During Rehberg’s 12 years in Washington, the lobbyist-turned-Congressman has been on 15 taxpayer-funded getaways to 34 different countries.

Rehberg’s itineraries read like they have been put together for a movie star: red-carpet welcomes, 5-star luxury hotels, dinners in castles, guided tours, and hobnobbing with special interests.

Taxpayers paid dearly for Rehberg’s 15 getaways.  In addition to luxury hotels and gourmet meals, Rehberg received a stipend of $250 a day.  His “VIP” military jet travel cost taxpayers as much as $20,000 an hour.

As Roll Call reports, there is also “no apparent limit to what the government can spend for [Rehberg’s] hotels, taxicabs, and room service.”

Rehberg has never submitted an itemized expense report.  But according to the Wall Street Journal, “the total tab disclosed by Congress is only a fraction of the true cost to taxpayers.”

Rehberg’s luxury getaways offer a stark contrast to the two official-business trips that Montana Farmer Jon Tester has taken.  Tester has traveled only to Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen, where he met with Montana troops.

An investigation by Cox News Service found that missions like Tester’s “take lawmakers to hot spots such as Iraq and the Middle East, where they are clearly dealing with crucial policy issues.”  But Rehberg enjoyed “excursions to more pleasant climes” which were labeled as “junketeering.” [Cox News Service, 10/26/2007]

“In Congress, Lobbyist Dennis Rehberg lives high on the hog and irresponsibly sticks taxpayers with the bill—with nothing to show for it,” said Montanans for Tester spokeswoman Alexandra Fetissoff.  “Failing to disclose the true cost of taxpayer funded trips is just another example of Dennis Rehberg refusing to hold himself accountable to the Montanans he’s supposed to work for.”

Read more about Rehbeg’s failure to account for his taxpayer funded global jet-setting HERE.