Former Congressional Ethics Chair: My $16,000 African Safari Was to Research Al Qaeda

Via: MotherJones

Rep. Jo Bonner responds to MoJo’s investigation of the trip he and two other GOPers took to Kenya in 2012.

By Corbin Hiar

Fri Mar. 15, 2013

Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.), the former chairman of the House ethics committee, has responded to questions Mother Jones first raised about the all-expenses paid trip to a Kenyan estate that he, two other GOP lawmakers, and members of their families took in August 2012, claiming that he was visiting the site where the Oscar-winning film Out of Africa was shot in order to learn about supposed connections between poaching and Al Qaeda.

As Mother Jones noted in a recent investigation, the estate the lawmakers visited is owned by the trust of a secretive French American family under investigation by French authorities for tax evasion and other misdeeds. The trip was organized by the International Conservation Caucus Foundation, a Washington-based nonprofit that is backed by polluting companies as well as four of the world’s largest environmental groups and spends much of its budget sending members of Congress on trips. The group was founded by a former lobbyist for African dictators who met with the lawmakers abroad.

New House rules Bonner signed off on in December 2012 sought to limit privately sponsored travel to nonprofits “with legitimate interests in providing appropriate fact finding opportunities to Members of Congress.” But when I asked Bonner what made the weeklong, $16,214.66 Kenyan excursion he and his wife enjoyed appropriate, he didn’t respond—until Wednesday. (The story hit newsstands in January and first appeared online on Tuesday.)

Read more: here 

Nothing to see here…Move along…

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