Fly the friendly skies
Here we go again: Ron Paul's airplane travel expenses questioned for second time
Maybe Ron Paul should start taking the train.
For the second time this year, the Texas congressman's travel expenses on airlines have been in question. This time, the influential political magazine and website Roll Call reported that Paul was reimbursed twice for air travel repeatedly over the last 10 years, after a close examination of his financial records.
The publication identified eight instances from 1999-2009 where Paul was reimbursed by taxpayers and from his campaign or related organization for the same air travel. Another 25 earlier instances totaled $15,000 in what appear to be double reimbursements.
Paul's campaign denied that he had misused tax dollars, pointing out possible inadvertent mistakes or duplicates, suggested that his wife or a campaign staffer may have traveled with him.
Roll Call also noted that the House of Representatives has changed the way it reports expenditures for public travel, so that it is impossible to track double payments after 2009.
Earlier this year, the Associated Press reported that Paul, who lives in Lake Jackson, spent $51,972 on first-class airfare — more than twice the average coach airfare on Continental Airlines — during the period of May 2009 and March 2011, on 31 round-trip flights and 12 one-way flights between Houston and Washington, D.C.
Paul's congressional staff claims that he "chose not to buy the cheaper economy tickets at a fraction of the price because they aren't refundable or as flexible for scheduling."
But an Associated Press review found that "most of the flights for Paul were purchased well in advance and few schedule changes were necessary. Nearly two-thirds of the 49 tickets were purchased at least two weeks in advance, and 42 percent were bought at least three weeks in advance."