11 Mar 2005

US watchdog calls for investigation into travel expenses of three Congressmen

9:17 am on 11 March 2005

Watchdog groups in Washington D.C.are calling for the House ethics panel to conduct an investigation into trips to Asia made by three congressmen including Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin.

Faleomavaega and two other congressman traveled to South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong in 2003.

The trip was paid for by the Korea-U.S. Exchange Council, a charity that is registered as a foreign agent with offices in South Korea and Washington.

House rules explicitly bar congressmen from traveling at the expense of foreign agents or domestic lobbyists.

The rules require that members file a disclosure form within 30 days if they undertake such travel.

Rep. Tom Feeney said he recently learned that the $5,643 bill for a trip he made to Scotland was paid by lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the subject of multiple government investigations.

Feeney was also on the trip to Asia with Congressman Faleomavaega.

In his disclosure form about the trip Faleomavaega listed the cost of the trip at $13,188. Rep. Earl Pomeroy, also attended and listed the cost in his disclosure form as $11,838.

The three congressmen met with the leaders of Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea in February 2003.