RUSH: This is from Jim Geraghty at National Review Online, at his blog, and the headline: Bailout recipient gave Barney Frank a free ride on a private jet. ‘Rep. Barney Frank, immersed in one of the toughest political fights of his career, took a free private jet to the Virgin Islands courtesy of a Maine congresswoman’s billionaire fiance — whose company received a $200 million federal bailout…’ Now, this is from the Boston Herald. Let’s put all this together. Barney Frank took a free private jet ride to the Virgin Islands, courtesy of a Maine congresswoman’s billionaire fiance, a billionaire whose company received a $200 million federal bailout. ‘Frank, who’s facing feisty Republican challenger Sean Bielat…’ I hope I’m pronouncing that right.
Oh. Ladies and gentlemen, a minor error committed by me in the first hour. There were some SR71s that had two seats. It was the SR71 trainer, so conceivably George H. W. Bush could have been on one. He wasn’t, but he coulda been on one. There are some or were some; they’ve been mothballed now. The SR-71 was a magnificent airplane. Just state-of-the-art. I’m sorry they mothballed the things. You can see one at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum up in New York, if you want to brave the high taxes to go there and take a tour. So I wanted to correct that mistake. So here’s Barney Frank. He flew to the Virgin ‘for a vacation in 2009 on a $25 million jet owned by Paloma Partners honcho S. Donald Sussman, the fiance of U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine).
‘Paloma Securities — a subsidiary of Sussman’s Greenwich, Conn.-based hedge fund — received $200 million in 2009 as part of the $180 billion federal bailout of troubled insurance giant AIG, records show.’ Now, Geraghty has a great question here: ‘Is there a member of Congress more sanctimonious about the greed and avarice of the private sector’ than Barney Frank? Now, here’s the thing that interests me. I have talked to a number of Republican congressmen. They come down here and I sometimes meet with them, and I ask them, ‘How’d you get down here?’ They have to fly commercial. They tell me, all these Republicans have told me, it is against new House rules to accept flights on private jets. Now, I don’t know if this restriction is business related or like if you can take a private jet on a vacation to the Virgin Islands, if that’s permitted.
But my impression was, from what I’ve been told by Republicans, that it’s not permitted anymore. New ethics rules — and they’re pretty recent — prohibit even leadership from flying private jets. Now, Pelosi, the speaker, she gets government provided jets. She demands it for her family, even though her husband and her could afford their own several times over. So I’m going to have to make a couple calls and find out about this because the first reaction was that this is not allowed. And secondly, a guy that gets a blithe via AIG who’s already a billionaire, hedge fund guy is the fiance of some Democrat congressman from Maine, and Barney gets a trip on this jet to the Virgin Islands for vacation in 2009. All the while, he’s devising policies, making speeches, comments and so forth from the various committees that he’s on denouncing the private sector and these ‘gweedy capital’wists’ all day long.
RUSH: I want to go back to this private jet business and Barney Frank, because I have been told by a number of ranking Republicans in the House that they’re not permitted to fly on private jets. They’re not permitted. Here’s a story from September 23rd by Jack Fowler, and I’m not sure the source here. But it’s about this same woman, Chellie Pingree, whose fiance is this billionaire, hedge fund guy who got a $180 billion bailout via AIG. She’s engaged to this guy, he has a private jet. This jet flew Barney Frank in 2009 to the Virgin Islands on a vacation. It turns out that this woman, Chellie Pingree, led the charge against congressmen and congresswomen flying on private jets. Back in September she criticized congressmen who fly on private jets. This is the same woman whose husband owns the corporate jet that Barney Frank flew on. And this post by Jack Fowler, and apparently there’s a bunch of blogs that have this. Let me read just a couple of excerpts.
‘In the aftermath of the Abramoff scandal, Chellie Pingree –‘ who, by the way, is the former CEO of Common Cause, she’s a huge leftist. ‘In the aftermath of the Abramoff scandal, Pingree lobbied for a tough ethics-reform law that would have, among other things, completely banned privately funded travel. When a weaker bill was introduced, Pingree called the drafted bill ‘window dressing.’ It is not clear whether Pingree’s use of [her fiance’s] aircraft was limited to the incident on September 17th.’ Apparently there were examples of her flying all over the country on this man’s jet. She’s a member of Congress. This is expressly forbidden. The Waterville Morning Sentinel reports the House rules.
‘The flights may be afoul with House ethics rules, according to a summary of the travel rules found on the website for the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. ‘While expenses for officially-connected travel may be accepted, members and staff may not accept expenses from a private source for travel the primary purpose of which is to conduct official business,’ the website summary says. ‘Clauses 1-3 of House Rule 24 prohibit the acceptance of private support — both monetary and in-kind — for official House activities. Thus, when the primary purpose of a trip is to conduct official business, such as general oversight activities within a committee’s jurisdiction, the expenses must be paid with official House funds.”
So this is being interpreted by people who don’t run afoul of House rules and ethics regulations that they can’t fly on corporate jets. It isn’t permitted. Yet there’s Barney Frank out there and this woman, Pingree, flying around in her fiance’s corporate jet all over the place, official business and not. This is typical ruling class stuff. She’s leading the charge and has led the charge against it. So she has rules for everybody else but somehow she ends up being exempted from her very own rules.