Six members of the House of Representatives are being questioned by congressional investigators over the possibility they kept the remainder of the per diem payments they receive when traveling overseas on official trips.
The Wall Street Journal reported this week that an independent ethics board — the Office of Congressional Ethics — has referred the matter to the House ethics committee. The investigations follow the WSJ report in March that revealed that lawmakers often do not return the remainder of the up to $250 per day they are given to cover meals and expenses when traveling overseas as required by Congressional rules.
Reps. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.); Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.); Joe Wilson (R-S.C.); Solomon Ortiz, (D-Texas); Robert Aderholt, (R-Ala.); and Former Rep. Mark Souder, (R-Ind.) have all been contacted by the OCE. The probe of Souder’s spending was dropped when he retired from the House in May, since the ethics committee only has authority over current members of Congress.
The House, according to the WSJ, does not have a system in place to track how the cash payments are spent, and lawmakers are not required to keep receipts.
Wilson reportedly bought marble goblets for less than $2 each in Iraq with the money that he gave to members of the military as gifts, his spokeswoman told the newspaper.