Walter Mencken 6:15 p.m., Feb. 28
Vargas aide junkets to Malaysia
Meetings with Melinda Gates and First Lady of Malaysia top non-profit world population groups' itinerary
Freshman Democratic congressman Juan Vargas lost his junketing maidenhood earlier this year on a free trip up the coast to a posh oceanfront resort.
Now it's the turn of his newly broken-in staff to hit the road.
In the case of Aaron Allen, it was a gratis tour to Malaysia, thanks to three nonprofits: Management Sciences for Health; Population Services International; and Women Deliver.
Explained Allen in his trip disclosure, filed June 17:
Rep Juan Vargas is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and I am his legislative assistant who handles foreign relations and global health issues.
This trip will help inform future policy decisions.
According to its website, Population Services is a nonprofit "global health organization dedicated to improving the health of people in the developing world by focusing on serious challenges like a lack of family planning, HIV and AIDS, barriers to maternal health, and the greatest threats to children under five, including malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition."
Board members include celebrity Ashley Judd.
Women Delivers, its website says, "builds on commitments, partnerships, and networks mobilized at the groundbreaking Women Deliver conferences in 2007 and 2010, fighting to end the deluge of preventable deaths that kill approximately 287,000 girls and women from pregnancy-related causes every year."
According to Allen's disclosure, he attended the 2013 Women Deliver Conference in Kuala Lumpur and "visited local health clinics hosted by the Malaysian Ministry of Health."
Allen's tour, from May 23 to June 1, according to the disclosure, cost its sponsors $2668.99 in air and ground transportation, $1680 for hotels, and $243 in meals.
Items on the itinerary included "Luncheon with First Lady of Malaysia, Grand Hyatt Hotel;" "Meeting with Melinda Gates and Chris Elias, The Gates Foundation;" "Reducing Unmet Need to Contraception;” “Briefing with US Embassy Officials;" and "Lemonade & Satays Reception.”