Ken Leighton 3:37 p.m., June 18
House Democrat Susan Davis runs up big free travel tab
It's semi-official: San Diego Democratic Congresswoman Susan Davis is number 17 on the list of the House and Senate's biggest-spending free travelers, running up a total tab of $200,652 on 28 trips taken courtesy of private sponsors.
That's according to data provided by Legistorm.com, a Washington-based website that collects and tabulates sponsored travel and expense reports submitted by members of Congress and their staff, as required under House and Senate rules.
The Legistorm information covers filings over the period from January 2000 though yesterday; Davis took office in 2001.
As we've previously reported, the congresswoman from San Diego's Kensington neighborhood has over the years traveled on somebody else's dime to an impressive array of far-flung locales, including Vienna, Tokyo, Barcelona, Canada's Whistler Resort in British Columbia, and Puerto Vallarta, among others.
Before the Tunisian revolution erupted that December, Davis turned up at a swanky beach resort outside Tunis in May 2010 for a $21,327 sojourn with her husband, physician Steve Davis, at a conference titled "Political Islam: Policy Challenges for Congress.”
That jaunt was sponsored, as are many of Davis's junkets, by the Aspen Institute, a non-profit think tank supported in part, according to its website, by corporate giants including Microsoft, Ernest & Young, Levi Strauss, Duke Energy, and Pepsico.
Congress's top free traveler has been California House Democrat George Miller, with 74 trips worth $365,923.
GOP Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, who just lost his primary re-election bid to a Tea Party-favored candidate, is currently a close second, with 60 trips costing their sponsors $354,691
By comparison, other San Diego county members of Congress appear to be virtual shut-ins.
Mega-millionaire GOP Congressman Darrell Issa has taken 29 free trips, valued at $112,711.
Democrat Bob Filner, currently running for mayor of San Diego, has embarked on 16 journeys reported to be worth $39,391.
And Republicans Brian Bilbray and Duncan Duane Hunter have taken none at all, according to Legistorm's data.