Three of Maine’s four members of Congress are among 622 senators and representatives who enjoyed more than $17.5 million in world travel paid for by private organizations.

The trio – Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both Republicans, and Rep. Tom Allen, a Portland Democrat – also are among more than 200 lawmakers who filed late reports amending some travel reports.

Such reports are coming under more and more scrutiny of late as attention has been focused on some alleged shenanigans of Republican Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas.

In the case of Maine’s congressional delegation, only Rep. Mike Michaud, a Democrat, escaped a listing by PoliticalMoneyLine, a watchdog organization that has posted some private travel information regarding lawmakers.

Of the other three, Snowe enjoyed the most expensive trip: An $8,447 excursion from Nov. 13 to Nov. 14, 2004, to Pebble Beach, Calif.

Paid for by the Panetta Institute, the trip broke down to $8,180 in airfare and other travel and $267 for lodging.

Maine’s senior senator received the 2004 Jefferson-Lincoln Award at the dinner event.

She was six days late in filing the travel report with the Senate secretary’s office, according to PoliticalMoneyLine.

In Collins’ case, the $804 cost for the senator’s travel to Sanibel, Fla., to speak at a lecture series on intelligence reform was funded by the Barrier Island Group for the Arts. The event took place on Jan. 30, and Collins was 16 days beyond the deadline to file the expense report, noted PML.

Allen’s Jan. 13 to Jan. 16 attendance at a bipartisan health policy conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was covered by the Commonwealth Fund, said PoliticalMoneyLine. The total tab: $2,529, broken down at $622 for travel, $905 for lodging, $932 for meals and $70 listed as other.

The report was filed with the House clerk one day late.

In all, PoliticalMoneyLine said members of Congress have enjoyed travel around the world valued at $17,589,429 during the past five years at the expense of private organizations.

The organization said 622 representatives and senators made 5,914 trips. Democrats took 3,330 trips, Republicans took 2,566 trips, others took 16 trips.

The analysis of Congressional trips by PoliticalMoneyLine in partnership with Medill News Service and American Public Media’s Marketplace program covers gifts of privately-funded travel from 2000 to winter 2005 as disclosed by the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate.

A report in The New York Times on Monday noted that some lawmakers went to extremes to correct travel expense filings.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., traveled to Taiwan, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Jordan and Israel among other locales in 2001 racking up thousands of dollars in travel paid for by a Chinese commerce group, a labor union and other private organizations.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., was the top dog in terms of junket travel, The Times reported. His trips to Japan, Thailand, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Qatar, Dubai and elsewhere totaled $177,000 in value since 2000, according to PoliticalMoneyLine.



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