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Congress's international boondoggles

The Wall Street Journal leads with a great investigative piece on the overseas trips of members of U.S. congress. The travel tab, charged to the taxpayer, has increased ten-fold since 1995 -- and many trips are of, well, dubious importance to U.S. citizens. Money quote:

Last summer, Rep. Brian Baird (D., Wash.) took a four-day trip to the Galápagos Islands with his wife, four other lawmakers and their family members. The lawmakers spent $22,000 on meals and hotels, records show. Mr. Baird, a member of the House Science Committee, said the trip was to learn about global warming.

On the first day, lawmakers toured a breeding center for giant tortoise and land iguanas before dining with scientists, according to an itinerary for the trip. The next morning, lawmakers headed to the Galápagos National Park while their family members had the option of hiking, swimming or shopping. That afternoon, the group boarded a boat to visit a sea-lion colony and search for white-tip sharks.

Mr. Baird didn't respond to a request for comment.

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