Crew Asks DOJ To Investigate Sensenbrenner

May 12, 2006

From The CREW website:

In Possible Violation of Federal Law, Congressman Reportedly Asked To Be Taken on European Trip

Washington, DC – Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) today sent a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) asking for an investigation into whether Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) violated federal law by soliciting a trip to Germany and Liechtenstein from the International Management and Development Institute (IMDI).

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported this week that Rep. Sensenbrenner asked IMDI, a group that brings together politicians and corporate executives, for a European trip that had been cancelled to be rescheduled because “he felt so strongly” about going on the trip. The institute then organized a special week-long trip to Berlin and Liechtenstein just for Rep. Sensenbrenner and his wife. The trip had been cancelled this year due to the publicity surrounding the Jack Abramoff scandal.

IMDI is headed by Don Bonker, a former congressman and now lobbyist for APCO Worldwide, an international public relations firm. Corporations underwrite IMDI, which rents space from APCO.

Rep. Sensenbrenner’s conduct may have violated the federal law that prohibits Members from soliciting a gift from any person who has interests before the House. 5 U.S.C. § 7353. This provision limits not only what government officials may accept, but also that for which they may ask.

“If Rep. Sensenbrenner and his wife would like to travel to Europe then they should pay for it themselves like everyone else,” Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW said today. “The Department of Justice should open an investigation to determine whether Rep. Sensenbrenner violated federal law by asking IMDI to organize and pay over $11,0000 for the week-long trip.”