City Paper is not for tourists
A few more details have emerged regarding Mayor Adrian M. Fenty‘s travel schedule. Not a whole lot—-but a few.
The revelations come from documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request filed in April by Judicial Watch, the conservative watchdog group famous for bulldogging Bill Clinton during his presidency, in addition to other various, mostly Democratic politicians.
The 17-page set of documents [PDF] shows how Fenty, in December 2007, received an invitation from acting Beijing mayor Guo Jinlong. While in China, according to a draft itinerary, Fenty was scheduled to take tours of the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the historic Beijing neighborhoods known as hutongs, and he was also slated to attend a reception at the Capital Museum hosted by the municipal government.
According to an accounting signed by District Secretary Stephanie D. Scott, Fenty also visited Shanghai and Hong Kong. The Beijing and Shanghai governments gave in-kind gifts totaling $8,800 for accommodations, food, and transportation; the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship, associated with the Chinese government, gave $2,500 toward additional transportation expenses.
As for his controversial trip to the United Arab Emirates, fewer details are to be had. The trip was valued at $25,000, and the donor was listed as Yousef Al-Otaiba, UAE’s ambassador to the U.S. and Mexico. The purpose of the trip was listed in city documents as “Cultural and economic exchange,” but no itineraries were provided.
Perhaps most interesting is an accounting of Fenty’s travel paid for by the city. A spreadsheet lists eight trips taken during his first 18 months in office. A couple were known—-his trips to the yearly shopping center conference in Las Vegas. He also traveled to New York on four occasions, twice simply for “Meetings,” once for “Education Meetings,” and once for an “Agency Rating.” Fenty traveled to Dallas in May 2008 to give a graduation speech at Paul Quinn College, a historically black institution with fewer than 1,000 students; less than a month later, he attended the U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting in Miami. Those trips, together, cost taxpayers about $2,600.