San Diego Democratic congresswoman Susan Davis, long the county's most junketeering House member, was on the road again in February.
Three years ago, Davis placed 17th on a list of Congress's biggest spending free travelers, at a total cost of $200,652 for 28 trips paid for by private sponsors.
Though she's slowed down a bit since then, the globe-girdling congresswoman and her husband, physician Steve Davis, logged ten August days in Israel last year, thanks to $17,908 from the American Israel Education Foundation, which is backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
Then it was off to Turkey, where the couple spent a week courtesy of the Aspen Institute, which picked up the $13,533 tab.
Last month Davis and spouse headed for Japan, where the couple partook of a seven-day "2015 U.S. Congressional Member Study Tour to Japan."
The couple's total transportation expenses were $20,275. Lodging was $948.76, and the couple's meals cost $1056.86. Other expenses, including "guides, professional interpreters, meeting room charges," and "small gifts for meeting partners," totaled $1206.48, bringing the grand total to $23,487.
"As a member of the Committee on Armed Services," wrote Davis on her disclosure form for the trip, which lasted from February 14 through 21, "I will participate in educational seminars, briefings and meetings with experts to discuss U.S.-Japan energy policy, trade negotiations, and military stance."
Sponsoring the junket was the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress, whose website says it "has created programs to educate about the role of Congress, assist Congress in its international relations, and support emerging democracies abroad, all while providing opportunities for members to stay connected with their colleagues."
A nonprofit corporation, the group isn't required under federal law to identify its donors. The association's 21-member business advisory council, listed on its website, includes Eli Lilly, Allianz, Daimler, and the American Honda Motor Company. On March 25, it is scheduled to give its annual "corporate statesman award" to PepsiCo chief executive Indra Nooyi. "Presenting sponsorships" for the banquet go for $50,000.
Another sponsor of the trip is listed as the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, U.S.A., whose chairman and CEO is retired Pacific Fleet admiral Dennis Blair, onetime director of National Intelligence for president Barack Obama. Blair is a member of the homeland security group of the Aspen Institute, a past sponsor of many Davis family trips.
Among other events during the February tour was a meeting with U.S. ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, daughter of the late president, which was "limited to members of congress." Noted the itinerary: "Electronics, including cell phones, will be taken at the door."
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe threw a reception for Kennedy and the visiting dignitaries, according to the itinerary. The tour also got close-up looks at the Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station and the city of Hiroshima, where the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb in August 1945.