Local Politics

Butterfield cleared in House ethics probe of travel spending

Posted January 3, 2011

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— The House Ethics Committee has dropped an investigation into how North Carolina 1st District Congressman G.K. Butterfield and five other lawmakers spent federal travel funds while visiting foreign countries, citing a lack of evidence and confusion over rules on the use of such money.

The ruling comes after the House's independent ethics board found enough evidence to refer the matter to the ethics committee following a Wall Street Journal article in March that said lawmakers had used daily cash stipends to cover expenses that appeared to be unauthorized by House rules.

The investigation focused on Butterfield and Reps. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala.; Eliot Engel, D-N.Y.; Alcee Hastings, D-Fla.; Solomon Ortiz, D-Texas; and Joe Wilson, R-S.C.

Legislators are given up to $250 a day when they travel overseas to cover expenses like cabs and food.

The Wall Street Journal found that many such costs were picked up by foreign governments and U.S. embassies, often leaving leftover funds. Several current and former lawmakers told the newspaper that leftover per-diem money was often used for shopping or to cover spouses' travel expenses.

There is no system for lawmakers to return excess travel funds when they return to the U.S.

The ethics committee said in its report that there was no conclusive evidence that others were paying for these meals. Also, the State Department and congressional rules don't adequately spell out what spending was covered under official purposes.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • cwood3 Jan 4, 2011

    Hay wheel-I could not agree with you more. However, he is in one of those "minority districts" tabbed by the Justice Dept(just like Mel Watt's 12th District). I really think he's not as big a thorn as the 4th with David Price and the 13th with Brad Miller. Miller drew his own district when he was in the legislature-the ran and won-DUH!!!

    What I don't understand is how these clowns-Republican and Democrat-think they can do whatever they want with OUR TAX MONEY!!! I'm sick and tired of the arrogance. Nancy Pelowsi's plane was not big enough for her troop that followed her-so she demanded -and got a bigger plane-so she could go cross country without a refeuling stop. WAH!!!
    This change cost us tax payers millions-but she saw speaker-she deserved it!!

    This attitude-along with other similar ones-MUST CHANGE. If not, 2010's elections will be only the beggining of a bigger revolution in 2012. Someone must tell those clowns that "YOU"RE SPENDING OUR MONEY-NOT YOURS"!!!

  • whatusay Jan 4, 2011

    What countries did Butterfield visit, and why?

  • whatusay Jan 4, 2011

    ecu4me2, GK has spent too much time in Washington. Charlie Rangel showed him the tricks to pocket money without being caught. Most elected officials who stay in office become corrupt when they figure out how to get rich, even if it harms their country.

  • detectivelancaster Jan 3, 2011

    This is terrible,terrible news....I mean him being cleared.

  • josephlawrence43 Jan 3, 2011

    Of course he was cleared. After Charlie Rangel, and the pending case against Carol Moslesy Braun--they figured that two sacrificial goats were enough to satisfy the public ...

  • ecu4me2 Jan 3, 2011

    GK Knows better but he has spent so much time with Charles Rangel he has lost his ethics

  • pappy1 Jan 3, 2011

    Legislators are "GIVEN" up to $250 a day when they travel overseas to cover expenses like cabs and food.

    "Given" my rear. "Steal" is more like it.

  • tgiv Jan 3, 2011

    I agree. Why bother gathering any facts at all. Just accuse, skip fact finding, convict, and move on to the next target.

  • WHEEL Jan 3, 2011

    Just wait until the Republicans redistrict Butterfields "district"

  • depenny Jan 3, 2011

    This investigation covered as many dems as reps. It is a perdium issue. That meal money. If you eat cheep or spend the whole lot on one meal it's still meal money. Like all perdiums the IRS allows as tax exempt out of town cost for business work or travel cost you get to keep what is left over. As long as the amount is reflective of the normal daily cost. I have no problem with $250.00 a day. It's most likely a world wide average cost of travel meals.