Congressional Panel Details Cost of Hillary's Travels

July 7, 2008 - 8:25 PM

( - A congressional subcommittee Thursday released a report showing that US Senate candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has reimbursed the American taxpayers for only 18 percent of her travel expenses to and from New York State.

The House Appropriations subcommittee, which oversees White House spending, said Mrs. Clinton has repaid $32,878 of the $182,471 it cost her to make 26 trips between June 9 and December 14, 1999. Mrs. Clinton flies on government aircraft, something the Secret Service reportedly insists upon.

Congressional Republicans released the spending data as members prepared for a hearing on the first lady's travel. The $182,471 tally released by the subcommittee was well below the $905,000 the Republican National Committee earlier estimated that Mrs. Clinton had spent.

Wire services report that Mrs. Clinton reimburses the government the same way presidential candidates do: at the rate of a first-class commercial ticket.

Mrs. Clinton's Republican opponent, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, has criticized the first lady for not fully reimbursing taxpayers. Mrs. Clinton's campaign spokesman, Howard Wolfson, said federal law does not require her to do so.

Wolfson said Thursday's hearing -- announced on Wednesday by the RNC -- was an attempt by Republicans to deflect attention from Giuliani's response to last week's fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by New York police.

The Republican study of the first lady's travel used data that the White House supplied on 26 trips to New York between early June and mid-December last year. Thirteen trips were not accounted for. Costs were estimated based on the $3,705 per hour the Air Force says it costs to fly a C-20.

Republicans say that they estimated Mrs. Clinton's travel expenses based on the costs of the less expensive C-20, not the more expensive C-9 the first lady may have used on occasion.

The study also found the first lady's campaign still owes $3,807 of the $36,685 billed by the White House Travel Office for political trips.