BOSTON – In response to an astounding new report released by WCVB on state lawmaker travel, Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance took legislators to task for the excessive number of special interest-paid trips to exotic locations they have taken over the last several years.
The report noted that dozens of lawmakers have taken special interest-funded “junkets” to exotic locations such as Israel, Taiwan, Turkey, Saint Thomas, and the Azores. “Those are just a few of the locations,” noted Paul D. Craney, MassFiscal spokesman. “From the reports, you would think these lawmakers worked for the State Department and not their local legislature.”
“Some of these lawmakers are taking these junket trips more than once a month to vacation hotspots, and it’s all being paid for by lobbyists and special interests,” said Craney. “In my mind, it brings up major issues relating to conflicts of interest and influence peddling.”
Of particular note was State Senator Marc Pacheco of Taunton. Pacheco, who recently voted himself a 121% raise that hiked his yearly salary to over $154,000 a year, has taken 28 trips since 2014. “Pacheco is by far one of the most frequent flyers,” commented Craney. “The State Senate has only met formally 31 times since this session convened in January of 2017. In that same time period, State Senator Pacheco has taken 10 special interest-funded trips to locations ranging from Austria to Quebec. Clearly, it’s a great year to be State Senator Marc Pacheco.”
“In the age of email, VOIP calling, and online video conferencing these types of trips should be less necessary, not more,” finished Craney.
Original Report Available Here: http://www.wcvb.com/article/state-legislators-take-hundreds-of-free-trips-to-vacation-hot-spots/16020928