Last May, buried in a long Bloomberg report about Stanford’s tussles with Stanford University over his claim to be descended from the school’s founder, was this nugget:
Members of the House Caribbean Caucus take annual trips to the region on Stanford’s jets. Lawmakers are required to reimburse companies at a first-class commercial rate, which is often a fraction of the actual cost.
The House Caribbean Caucus? We don’t mind telling you, we weren’t even aware of its existence.
But according to this announcement from the Inter-American Economic Council, which appears to be from circa 2005, it has some pretty interesting co-chairs:
Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caribbean Caucus Congressman Donald Payne (D-NJ), Congressman Robert Ney (R-OH), Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX), Congressman Tom Feeney (R-FL), Congressman Charlie Rangel (D-NY), Congressman John Sweeney (R-NY), Congressman Mel Watt (D-NC), Congressman Phil English (R-PA), Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) Congresswomen Donna Christensen (D-VI), and Congresswoman Diane Watson (D-CA).
That’s something of a rogue’s gallery…
Ney, of course, did jail time after pleading guilty to lying about his involvement in the Jack Abramoff scandal.
Feeney also was implicated in the Abramoff scandal, and was named one of the “20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress” in a report by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
Sweeney also made CREW’s list, and went on an Abramoff-funded junket to the Northern Mariana islands with Tony Rudy.
Rangel is currently being investigated by the House ethics committee in connection with, among other issues, unpaid taxes on income from a Caribbean vacation home.
This story just gets more and more interesting…