If you’d like to know about some of your representative’s or senator’s foreign travel habits, you can find out at the link below. The link will download a spreadsheet containing data on all congressional foreign travel for 2009, which is the most recent year for which the available data is the most complete. My sources were WikiLeaks cables and public reports on publicly and privately financed foreign travel. Although a few years old, the data still provide a pretty good sense for who is traveling, where they are going, which committees have the most frequent fliers, and how often legislators are traveling on public and private funding. If you want to know the purpose behind any given trip, additional information is often available by performing a keyword search of State Department cables at WikiLeaks’s website.
The spreadsheet is generally self-explanatory, but here are a few points of additional clarification:
(1) Most of the dates reported in Column C are the actual travel dates. In some cases, however, the actual dates were unavailable, which forced me to use the dates of the Congressional Record reports in which the travel was disclosed. I signified the dates of these reports with an asterisk (e.g., “*09/09/09” would mean that the travel was reported in a document dated September 9th, not that the travel actually occurred on that date). Dates without asterisks are actual travel dates.
(2) The Congressional Record generally does not report the destination country for travel undertaken for the House or Senate Intelligence Committee. At best, the reports list only the destination continent (e.g., Europe) for such travel, and Column D reflects this practice.
(3) Columns G through K are all of the committees on which the corresponding legislator served at the time of the reported travel.
(4) The main spreadsheet tab is composite data, meaning data from public reports on publicly funded travel, public reports on privately funded travel, and the WikiLeaks cables. The second tab separates out all of the privately funded travel.
In December 2013 I published an article (available here) that discusses these findings and some of their implications for U.S. constitutional law.
Special thanks to Margaret Krei, Sam Berg, Nick Hagman, and Katie Linn for excellent research assistance.
Thanks. How does one get to the second sheet with the privately funded travel?
The second sheet is available if you look at the bottom of the screen–there’s a tab entitled “Private Travel 2009.” Click on that.