Walter Mencken 2:37 p.m., March 1
Oprah Winfrey Picks Up Bob Filner's Freedom Riders Tab
Democratic congressman Bob Filner, who appears to be inching closer toward a mayoral run, made a splash last month when he appeared on one of Oprah Winfrey's final shows to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders, of which he was a member.
(He was held in a Southern lock-up after being arrested during a 1961 civil rights protest.)
After his return from the show, Filner jokingly told the U-T's Tom Blair he was hoping for a free car, but at least the congressman's transportation to and from the Chicago taping, plus two nights of food and lodging, were covered by Oprah.
Her company Harpo Productions paid $954.65 to fly him from San Diego to the Windy City and back to Washington, plus another $366.58 in lodging expenses at the Omni Hotel and $105.74 for meals, as disclosed on the travel report subsequently filed by the congressman.
In addition, according to the filing, "Liberty Mutual is providing production funding in exchange for promotional value."
The filing explains that Filner was staying beyond two days in Chicago to attend a Freedom Riders reunion, but Harpo did not pay "for anything beyond 4/29 EXCEPT for his return flight and transportation to the airport."
Under "Explain why participation in the trip is connected to your individual official or representational duties," Filner wrote:
"My connection to civil rights movement is important to my..."
There is one more word, but the handwriting is hard for us to make out. You can check it out here:
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