Wouldn't it be great if we could all take long, leisurely European vacations with our whole extended family -- and have the $23,000 tab paid for by Russian and Eastern European business moguls?
Unfortunately, it seems that former Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA) is among the only ones who actually gets to do that.
Ken Silverstein over at Harper's digs
into the details of Weldon's January 2007 trip with ten family members (including his son's girlfriend and his daughter's boyfriend). They stopped in Moscow and Vienna (not cheap cities).
We're not sure the trip has anything to do with Weldon's new arms trafficking
business. But there's a couple of interesting things to point out.
First, Weldon asked the notoriously lax House ethics committee for formal permission to take the trip before he went. He offered the lame explanation that the Russians and Serbs were paying for his trip because he was a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and it had nothing to do with his House seat.
But when he got the sense the committee wasn't buying that argument, he "withdrew" his request for a waiver on the gift rules.
In other words: Weldon apparently didn't get the answer he wanted, so he simply ignored the committee's advice and ethics rules and went anyway, with the tab being picked up by outside sponsors.
And here's another key aspect of the trip: the Serbian family who paid for part of it was the Karic Group, run by the Karic family, which is barred from entering the U.S. due to its close ties with the warmongering Milosevic regime.
That's the same Serbian group who just a few months later hired Weldon's inexperienced 29-year-old daughter to lobby
for then to the tune of $240,000 a year.
The Weldon family sure is living the American dream.