Hard to blame anyone for wanting to get out of Washington and flee to some destination where the air is not polluted by politics. Understandable, then, that as Shane Goldmacher of Government Executive writes:
Members of Congress and their aides took more free trips around the world in 2013 than in any year since new restrictions were put in place after the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling scandal.
Seems there is no end to the fact-finding that must be conducted in, among other places, “Ireland, Morocco, France, South Africa, Israel, Turkey,” and there are people willing to put up the necessary money and make sure that the whole thing stays legal. There are ways and creativity is rewarded as in the case of:
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., and his wife [who] headed to Puerto Rico in December. They stayed at the El Conquistador Resort, a Waldorf Astoria property "uniquely nestled on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea," according to its website.
The Council of State Governments Eastern Regional Conference picked up the tab. The annual meeting's theme was "Succeeding in a Time of Austerity.”