For Immediate Release
David Vance, email@example.com
Civic Groups Call for Transparency in the High Costs of Using Military Aircraft for Congressional Travel
Groups Encourage Passage of Foreign Travel Cost Disclosure Act
WASHINGTON - In a letter sent today, several reform organizations urged members of Congress to co-sponsor and support passage of the Foreign Travel Cost Disclosure Act (H.R. 1359), introduced by U.S. Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), in order to bring more transparency to the costs of elected officials’ taxpayer-funded travel.
The organizations include Campaign Legal Center, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Common Cause, Democracy 21, Public Citizen and U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG).
According to the letter:
“This measure would bring important transparency to both lawmakers and the public of the cost of using military aircraft for official congressional travel. It does not impede such travel in any way, nor does it impose any restrictions on the use of military aircraft for congressional travel. Instead, H.R. 1359 would require that the Secretary of Defense provide an estimate of the cost of the use of military aircraft to those involved in the official travel. … The cost would also be made public on the Secretary’s web site.”
The groups note that congressional travel by military aircraft is usually far more expensive than commercial travel, but at the same time, safety and convenience often makes such travel necessary. However, lawmakers and staff are often unaware of the cost of using military aircraft, which is not reported to Congress or the public.
The letter continues:
“In this era of fiscal restraint, which also has dramatically impacted the military, it is important that Members and staff be informed of these costs in order to determine whether the use of military aircraft is the most cost effective means of transportation.”
The letter concludes:
“Our organizations urge swift passage of H.R. 1359. This is a measure that all parties should be able to agree upon.”
To read the coalition letter, go to: http://www.citizen.org/documents/coalition-letter-foreign-travel-cost-disclosure-act.pdf
THE LAST FIREWALL AGAINST THE LIES
Independent media has become the last firewall against government and corporate lies. Yet, with frightening regularity, independent media sources are losing funding, closing down or being blacked out by Google and Facebook. Never before has independent media been more endangered. If you believe in Common Dreams, if you believe in people-powered independent media, please support our critical Winter campaign now and help us fight—with truths—against the lies that would smother our democracy. Please help keep Common Dreams alive and growing.
Common Cause is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1970 by John Gardner as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.