Democratic congresswoman Susan Davis, who regularly travels the world for free, thanks to junkets staged by the Washington-based, nonprofit Aspen Institute, has been at it again. From August 14 through 21, according to House travel records, she and her husband, Dr. Steven Davis, flew to Vancouver, British Columbia, to stay at the ultraluxurious Four Seasons Resort Whistler hotel during a conference entitled “Transforming America’s Education Through Innovation and Technology.” The gist of the program was that schools need to buy more computers. Among the topics: “What is ‘disruptive innovation’ and how is it different from the kinds of change that characterize American education?” and “Is there a political cost to investing in technology instead of teachers? Is it an ‘either/or’ choice, or do they complement one another?”
Fellow Democratic congressmembers on the invite list included George Miller, Rush Holt, Pete Stark, Henry Waxman, and David Obey. There was only one Republican: Oklahoma’s Tom Cole.
Aspen Institute picked up the round-trip travel tab between the Canadian venue and San Diego for both Davis and her husband, $955.68 each, as well as total lodging costs for both with a total of $1125, and total meal expenses for the couple of $1000, according to an August 25 travel disclosure form signed by Davis, which says she and her husband flew coach and that the cost of the room at Whistler was $225 a night…Meanwhile, over on the GOP side of the aisle, a top aide to North County congressman Darrell Issa was off to Brussels from August 29 through September 6, courtesy of the politically influential Bertelsmann Foundation, said to be the biggest nonprofit foundation in Europe, created by members of the famous German publishing conglomerate in 1977. In 2001, a subsidiary of publisher Bertelsmann paid ex-President Bill Clinton a record-smashing $15 million advance for his best seller, My Life.
According to a statement filed by Kristina Moore, senior counsel to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, on which Issa serves, “The meetings and events I participated in were fact finding in nature, with group discussions led by both politicians and practitioners in the fields of US/EU relations and climate change policy. Debate and dialogue by all participants was strongly encouraged and led to a useful exchange of different ideas and perspectives.” Total transportation costs were $1036.90, lodging was $635, and meals were $320, plus $51.68 in taxi and other ground travel, according to the disclosure.