House Democrat Susan Davis runs up big free travel tab

It's semi-official: San Diego Democratic Congresswoman Susan Davis is number 17 on the list of the House and Senate's biggest-spending free travelers, running up a total tab of $200,652 on 28 trips taken courtesy of private sponsors.

That's according to data provided by http://www.legistorm.com"> Legistorm.com, a Washington-based website that collects and tabulates sponsored travel and expense reports submitted by members of Congress and their staff, as required under House and Senate rules.

The Legistorm information covers filings over the period from January 2000 though yesterday; Davis took office in 2001.

As we've previously reported, the congresswoman from San Diego's Kensington neighborhood has over the years traveled on somebody else's dime to an impressive array of far-flung locales, including Vienna, Tokyo, Barcelona, Canada's Whistler Resort in British Columbia, and Puerto Vallarta, among others.

Before the Tunisian revolution erupted that December, Davis turned up at http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2010/jun/30/under-the-radar-1/">a swanky beach resort outside Tunis in May 2010 for a $21,327 sojourn with her husband, physician Steve Davis, at a conference titled "Political Islam: Policy Challenges for Congress.”

That jaunt was sponsored, as are many of Davis's junkets, by the Aspen Institute, a non-profit think tank supported in part, http://www.aspeninstitute.org/policy-work/business-society-sponsors">according to its website, by corporate giants including Microsoft, Ernest & Young, Levi Strauss, Duke Energy, and Pepsico.

Congress's top free traveler has been California House Democrat George Miller, with 74 trips worth $365,923.

GOP Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, who just lost his primary re-election bid to a Tea Party-favored candidate, is currently a close second, with 60 trips costing their sponsors $354,691

By comparison, other San Diego county members of Congress appear to be virtual shut-ins.

Mega-millionaire GOP Congressman Darrell Issa has taken 29 free trips, valued at $112,711.

Democrat Bob Filner, currently running for mayor of San Diego, has embarked on 16 journeys reported to be worth $39,391.

And Republicans Brian Bilbray and Duncan Duane Hunter have taken none at all, according to Legistorm's data.


If Susan were a Republican, rather than a Dem, by now at least a half-dozen comments would have been posted lambasting her for being in the pockets of corporate America. She has been the most lavish and persistent junketeer of any congressional rep in or around SD County for years now. One might wonder when her hubby, the physician, has time to practice medicine while escorting her round the world. While Congress is in session she dutifully votes her party line. I'm unaware of her having ever sponsored a significant piece of legislation. (But in that she had company--Bob Filner was AWOL as far as that was concerned, too.)

Looking at the list of corporate sponsors of her world tour, most appear fairly conventional. Except for Microsoft. "Billy the Bellevue Bandit" Gates, richest man in the world (or is that Buffet or . . . ?) tends to favor leftist causes and that sort of thing. So maybe Susan is not in the pocket of corporate America after all. Those corps look more and more like multinationals that play every angle to succeed. And that can be to finance junkets (luxury vacations) for politicians like her.

Bellevue? Gates was born in Seattle. Microsoft is located in Redmond. And Gates lives in a mansion in Medina, WA.

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