Oh, dear. Rep. Christopher "Abu Ghraib was a sex ring
" Shays (R-CT) took a luxurious 10-day trip to Qatar in 2003, organized by Grover Norquist's Islamo-Republican outfit, the Islamic Institute. And, it appears, it was likely paid for by the government of Qatar, according
to Garance Franke-Ruta in the New Republic
Somehow the trip was never publicly disclosed, as required by House rules. But he was more than happy to share with CNN and others the intimate details of his one-day jaunt into newly-liberated Iraq, which he tacked on to the end, reports Franke-Ruta:
. . . Shays's privately sponsored trip to Qatar was notably absent from his own annual federal financial disclosure form, filed in May 2004, in violation of House rules. Nor did he submit an amendment disclosing the sponsor of his Qatar trip until confronted in mid-October 2006 by The New Republic with internal Islamic Institute receipts for his plane tickets, which were provided by an Arab American source upset with Shays's foreign policy positions.
Franke-Ruta notes that Shays has boasted, "every expense of my office is a matter of public record." No doubt.
Qatar doled out over $140,000 to Norquist's group to fund the trip for Shays and about a dozen other lawmakers; by comparison, it paid $150 million to found Al Jazeera television (which had a very different take
on the Abu Ghraib debacle than Shays did). Like K Street, I guess it likes to hedge its bets.