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Reid, Boxer flying high on Feinstein's private jet

Gulfstream G650 (Business Wire via Bloomberg News)

Hey, who wouldn't like to travel by private jet? It's a treat few of us get to enjoy, including members of Congress.

Financial disclosure forms released Wednesday show that Sen. Dianne Feinstein let Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Barbara Boxer hitch a ride Christmas Eve on her private plane after they had trouble booking commercial flights because of a blizzard, reports our colleague Paul Kane.

Stuck in D.C. by the health-care vote, the senators and Feinstein's husband, investor Richard Blum, headed to San Francisco in his Gulfstream jet. Reid and Boxer, according to the disclosure forms, accepted the flight as a gift and valued it at $3,625 after consulting the ethics staff. Reid then headed to Reno on a commercial flight to join his family for Christmas.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein and husband Richard Blum at the Kennedy Center. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

Sweet, huh? Especially since flying on private aircraft is all but banned due to revised ethics rules.

"There are personal friendship exceptions for both House and Senate," said Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center. "Is it logical to conclude these three are friends? Yes, I think it is."

In 2007, Congress tightened the rules on private flights to restrict lobbyists and corporations from dangling free travel at lawmakers, and vice versa -- former Illinois senator Alan Dixon was notorious for mooching free corporate flights, said McGehee. "The rules that are in place are meant to ensure that special interests don't have a leg up."

But family and longtime friends can still offer a nonstop flight-- a treat for most of the millionaires on Capitol Hill.

"Most members of Congress don't typically own jets or have spouses who own private jets," said Dave Levinthal, spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics. "At the very least, it's quite nice to have friends in Congress who do. Beats the middle seat on a Delta red-eye."

By The Reliable Source  |  June 17, 2010; 1:05 AM ET
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What is the point of this story in this colum?

A friend gave friends a ride.

Posted by: rlj1 | June 17, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see the green democrats saving the environment one gulfstar V at a time. I love to here them after they get off the gas guzzling Gulfstar tell me about climate change and green energy.

Posted by: robtr | June 17, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Democrat Lefties want US to be green, but don't you DARE get in the way of THEIR bloated, monster carbom footprints. That green stuff is about them living large and Al Gore getting rich and the little people being green and taxed. Of course. Because Gore, Boxer, Reid and Feinstein are SPECIAL. And IMPORTANT. And RICH. Green-tech doesn't count for THEM. Pelosi hijacked a military 767 and burns 100,000 dollars worth of liquor and food every four trips, plus $12,000 an hour for fuel, plus maintenance for the plane, plus salaries and overtime. Why? Because her little plane didn't hold enough groupies and had to stop for fuel en route. She had to have a BIG plane. Why? Because she's Special. And IMPORTANT. And RICH. A BILLIONAIRE she is along with her husband. And STILL Pelosi soaks us. Democrats are pigs.

Wealth envy only happens when Democrats are mad at Cheney, but these folks DWARF Cheney's wealth and STILL they soak us. Oh yeah, Hollywood, the original Greens and lovers of Al Gore. They don't sacrifice THEIR fat, petrol-driven lifestyles and huge homes either. That's for the small people. Why? Because they're SPECIAL. And IMPORTANT. And RICH. Sure am glad the Democrats are in. They look JUST LIKE America.

Posted by: JamesChristian | June 18, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

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