H.Res. 580 - The "Sunlight Resolution" - Expose Washington Corruption
Rep. Mike Quigley has not yet re-introduced this legislation in the new Congress. Call Rep. Quigley's office -- (202) 225-4061 -- urge him to resubmit this bill to strengthen travel reporting requirements.
H.Res. 580 requires that a Member of Congress seeking travel reimbursement provide an "itemized description of the expense, including the specific flight number, and use a credit card provided by the House of Representatives."
But why is this so important?
Because on Feb. 6, 2012, Roll Call - the Newspaper of Capitol Hill Since 1955, published the first of several articles: "Records Show Ron Paul Trips Paid Twice";
followed on Feb. 21 by, "Associate Confronted Ron Paul About Flights".
According to Roll Call, Ron Paul received reimbursement for travel expenses he claims to have been "official" while at the same time, asking people who support his principles through TLC and other groups to pay him directly for the costs of those same trips.
Use of a personal credit card and allocating expenses is at the heart of this double billing. H.Res. 580 would require use of an official credit card for official business.
On February 22, 2012, Roll Call reported that "In response to reports that Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) was double-reimbursed for travel, Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) is drawing up a resolution to strengthen travel reporting requirements in the House."
Rep. Quigley's bill is H.Res. 580. The related Senate bill is S.Res. 288. These bills are critical to rebuilding the personal integrity of Congress.
A Master Chart that TLC prepared and sent to Rep. Paul links over $20,000 of travel expenses he billed to TLC between 1998 and 2005 with travel expenses that official House documents reveal were also reimbursed to him through the House of Representatives. (see Documentation and Analysis)
The actual total could be much more than $20,000 -- that figure recaptures only the most obvious duplicate payments. Furthermore, TLC is only one of several organizations or committees Roll Call uncovered that were double billed for travel by Dr. Paul.
That's why Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) put Ron Paul on their 2012 "Most Corrupt" list for "improperly seeking double reimbursements for travel expenses."
And that's why Rep. Quigley's legislation is urgently needed.
A follow-up Roll Call article from May 15, 2012, shows how difficult it is to get a Member to return money: "Nonprofit Prods Ron Paul for Repayment."
But it gets worse. In 2009 when Nancy Pelosi was Speaker, the House actually took a step backward and made it easier for a Member of Congress to bill twice for the same travel and not have that double billing discovered.
The Feb. 22nd Roll Call article reported that after 2009 "the House for the first time released its quarterly expense reports online." "Hurray" you say - "that makes it easier to check up on my representative!"
But according to Roll Call "…Congressional administrators erased a vast array of details on the expenditures," before they began posting them online, "making it impossible to determine what much of the money was actually spent on."
The House did taxpayers no favors when they hid critical data. As Roll Call reported, the 2009 changes "make it almost impossible to track whether Members are being paid by taxpayers and other groups for the same items."
TAKE ACTION NOW!
Hold Congress accountable. Call Rep. Mike Quigley directly (202) 225-4061
and ask him to re-introduce his former H.Res. 580. Tell him you are counting on his leadership to stop corruption.
Need more information? Review documentation on which this investigation and findings are based at Documentation and Analysis.