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Love fest for Oklahoma's Stephanie Bice and Sara Jacobs in San Diego

Congressional stops at North Island, Joan Kroc Center, Taylor Guitars, and Cafe 21

Bice – rebuked for voting to investigate the Jan. 6 attack
Bice – rebuked for voting to investigate the Jan. 6 attack

A controversial House Republican from Oklahoma has toured San Diego with Democratic colleague Sara Jacobs, courtesy of a Washington-based think tank criticized by a Harvard University ethics fellow for its ties to Big Oil.

According to her post-travel disclosure form, filed with the House Ethics Committee on September 23, Stephanie Bice flew to San Diego from Oklahoma City on September 14, returning the next day after dining in North Park and spending the night at the Comfort Inn Gaslamp, Convention Center.

Sara Jacobs

Bice, an "avowed conservative" Republican who toppled incumbent Democrat Kendra Horn last year, has taken fire from both sides of the aisle, according to a September 21 Roll Call account

"Even though she has voted in line with House Republicans more than 95 percent of the time, the state GOP chairman publicly rebuked her for voting in May for an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol," the story noted.

"But she drew a distinction between that measure and a later vote — after Senate Republicans had blocked the bipartisan probe — to establish a House select committee to investigate the riot, which she said could be 'nothing but political theater.'"

Expenses of Bice's trip to San Diego, including transportation ($479), lodging ($348), meals ($85), along with rental car, gas, and parking ($364), were picked up by the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Bice's excursion with Jacobs was part of the think tank's American Congressional Exchange Program, touted as a way to break the partisan ice that plagues congress, but criticized by some as covert lobbying.

"Members of Congress (MOC’s) who participate agree to visit, for one weekend, a Member of the opposite party in that Member’s district," says the center's website.. "That member, in turn, reciprocates the following year or when schedules permit."

"Leveraging BPC’s [Bipartisan Policy Center] extensive, existing relationships with Members of Congress, ACE [American Congressional Exchange Program] identifies MOC’s and secures participation.

"ACE develops customized itineraries and agendas, coordinates all logistics and compliance for travel."

"Each visit is tailored to meet the participants’ individual needs and build a relationship between two MOC’s."

The policy center engendered controversy in May after taking House Democrat Paul Tonko of New York on a tour of his Republican colleague David McKinley's West Virginia district's coal and gas company operations.

"The Bipartisan Policy Center has been funded by the fossil fuel industry," noted a June account of the trip by the liberal American Prospect.

"According to annual reports, its donors have included America Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, American Gas Association, American Natural Gas Alliance, ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, Dominion Resources, Marathon Oil, and several other companies and trade groups in the sector."

Of Bice's San Diego excursion, her disclosure filing says, "The visit will provide Rep. Bice, along with Rep. Sara Jacobs, the chance to meet directly with civic leaders and economic drivers in San Diego as well as military personnel."

"Finally, she will meet with a military contractor in the aerospace industry and several small and medium-sized businesses."

The advance itinerary listed a stop at the University of San Diego's Joan Kroc School of Peace Studies.

"As a contrast to their visit to the NAS North Island, Reps. Bice and Jacobs will engage in a discussion about new approaches towards ending cycles of violence; the applied and actionable research being undertaken to assist women peace leaders; and how the University is seeking to build peace in Mexico and the border region through research grounded in a nuanced understanding of the challenges faced by border communities and in partnership with local scholars, practitioners and policymakers."

Then it was off for a tour of El Cajon's GKN Aerospace, part of British military contracting multi-national GKN PLC, "which manufactures lightweight structures for high performance aerospace applications and components such as rings, modules, ducts, compressor cases.

"Also, repair of fan blades and cases of jet engines. 800 employees. Led by Phillip Holt, Senior Vice President, Operational Excellence, and Sibel Kayaalp, Government and External Affairs."

Other stops along the way included a trade briefing at Taylor Guitars, a review of Balboa Park infrastructure improvements, and a walk-through of North Park's business district.

Dinner was set for Café 21 on Adams Avenue.

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Bice – rebuked for voting to investigate the Jan. 6 attack
Bice – rebuked for voting to investigate the Jan. 6 attack

A controversial House Republican from Oklahoma has toured San Diego with Democratic colleague Sara Jacobs, courtesy of a Washington-based think tank criticized by a Harvard University ethics fellow for its ties to Big Oil.

According to her post-travel disclosure form, filed with the House Ethics Committee on September 23, Stephanie Bice flew to San Diego from Oklahoma City on September 14, returning the next day after dining in North Park and spending the night at the Comfort Inn Gaslamp, Convention Center.

Sara Jacobs

Bice, an "avowed conservative" Republican who toppled incumbent Democrat Kendra Horn last year, has taken fire from both sides of the aisle, according to a September 21 Roll Call account

"Even though she has voted in line with House Republicans more than 95 percent of the time, the state GOP chairman publicly rebuked her for voting in May for an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol," the story noted.

"But she drew a distinction between that measure and a later vote — after Senate Republicans had blocked the bipartisan probe — to establish a House select committee to investigate the riot, which she said could be 'nothing but political theater.'"

Expenses of Bice's trip to San Diego, including transportation ($479), lodging ($348), meals ($85), along with rental car, gas, and parking ($364), were picked up by the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Bice's excursion with Jacobs was part of the think tank's American Congressional Exchange Program, touted as a way to break the partisan ice that plagues congress, but criticized by some as covert lobbying.

"Members of Congress (MOC’s) who participate agree to visit, for one weekend, a Member of the opposite party in that Member’s district," says the center's website.. "That member, in turn, reciprocates the following year or when schedules permit."

"Leveraging BPC’s [Bipartisan Policy Center] extensive, existing relationships with Members of Congress, ACE [American Congressional Exchange Program] identifies MOC’s and secures participation.

"ACE develops customized itineraries and agendas, coordinates all logistics and compliance for travel."

"Each visit is tailored to meet the participants’ individual needs and build a relationship between two MOC’s."

The policy center engendered controversy in May after taking House Democrat Paul Tonko of New York on a tour of his Republican colleague David McKinley's West Virginia district's coal and gas company operations.

"The Bipartisan Policy Center has been funded by the fossil fuel industry," noted a June account of the trip by the liberal American Prospect.

"According to annual reports, its donors have included America Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, American Gas Association, American Natural Gas Alliance, ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, Dominion Resources, Marathon Oil, and several other companies and trade groups in the sector."

Of Bice's San Diego excursion, her disclosure filing says, "The visit will provide Rep. Bice, along with Rep. Sara Jacobs, the chance to meet directly with civic leaders and economic drivers in San Diego as well as military personnel."

"Finally, she will meet with a military contractor in the aerospace industry and several small and medium-sized businesses."

The advance itinerary listed a stop at the University of San Diego's Joan Kroc School of Peace Studies.

"As a contrast to their visit to the NAS North Island, Reps. Bice and Jacobs will engage in a discussion about new approaches towards ending cycles of violence; the applied and actionable research being undertaken to assist women peace leaders; and how the University is seeking to build peace in Mexico and the border region through research grounded in a nuanced understanding of the challenges faced by border communities and in partnership with local scholars, practitioners and policymakers."

Then it was off for a tour of El Cajon's GKN Aerospace, part of British military contracting multi-national GKN PLC, "which manufactures lightweight structures for high performance aerospace applications and components such as rings, modules, ducts, compressor cases.

"Also, repair of fan blades and cases of jet engines. 800 employees. Led by Phillip Holt, Senior Vice President, Operational Excellence, and Sibel Kayaalp, Government and External Affairs."

Other stops along the way included a trade briefing at Taylor Guitars, a review of Balboa Park infrastructure improvements, and a walk-through of North Park's business district.

Dinner was set for Café 21 on Adams Avenue.

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Comments
7

I had to snicker reading that Bice stayed the night at Comfort Inn Gaslamp. I've stayed there before, and it's rundown, 2-star hotel, with minimal "comfort" for guests. It has a 2.5 star rating on Yelp, which is generous. So she didn't try to run up a huge bill, like at The US GRANT. The neighborhood is sketchy, too. I wouldn't recommend that hotel to anyone.

Oct. 4, 2021

Thirty to forty years ago, Comfort Inns were fairly decent properties. But then most were new motels, not recycled from some other brand. Now they are close to the bottom tier, along with Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inns. Maybe she's attempting to stay above reproach and avoid accusations of junketeering. Or, maybe she wasn't paying attention to where she was booked.

Oct. 5, 2021

She's a politician. She's trying to "break the partisan ice." Of course she's going to stay in a very "modest" hotel. If you're trying to break the ice politically, you're not going to fly in from Oklahoma and spend all your time in Rancho Santa Fe, La Jolla and Coronado. She's thinking like a politician because she is one.

Oct. 5, 2021

You make that sound like it's a bad thing.

Oct. 5, 2021

Most of the smart folks I know from my OK days moved OUT of that state, instead of just taking occasional trips "leaving on a jet plane." It's a good place be from.....FAR from! Downtown Tulsa does have some of the best Art Deco buildings you'll ever view, built in Tulsa's glory days by rich oil men like Waite Phillips [Phillips 66]. Those dudes had excellent taste! http://tastefuldetours.com/top-10-art-deco-architectural-jewels-in-tulsa-oklahoma/ My favorite is Waite's Philtower office building, which now contains upscale residential apartments.

Oct. 8, 2021

What's incredible is not hapless Representative Bice of Oklahoma or the fleabag Gaslamp hotel she stayed in, but the fossil-fueled lobby that invented this faux-civility charade. Maybe it was an idea put up by distinguished sailor and GOP stalwart Malin Burnham of San Diego who, in the bad old days, used to promote "civility' as a way to muzzle controversy. I appreciate knowing from the Reader that political subterfuge, like the Wolf masquerading as Granny in "Little Red Riding Hood," is alive and well.

Oct. 5, 2021

Well said! Will Mitch McConnell be arriving next in SD to do a pas de deux with Sen. Feinstein?

Oct. 5, 2021

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