2002-06-29 / Front Page

Meeks Reps Respond To NY Post Article

By Gary G. Toms

By Gary G. Toms

An article entitled "Junket Junkie" ran in the June 26 issue of the New York Post, which placed the spotlight on Congressman Gregory W. Meeks’ frequent trips to various locations around the globe, courtesy of corporations or groups with an interest in lobbying the Congressman. In addition to laying out a list of cities and countries visited by Meeks, the Post noted that the Congressman’s wife, Simone-Marie, accompanied him on many of the excursions.

Trips taken by the Congressman included the following:

January 2001

NY to Taiwan (with wife) $13,790


D.C. to Dallas (with wife) $1,779


NY to Puerto Rico $1,270


NY to Houston (with wife) $5,731


NY to London $8,436

There were several other trips in between, and the article stated that Meeks and his wife recently returned from an all-expenses paid trip to New Orleans.

The Post compiled travel records by reviewing up to date disclosure statements filed by New York lawmakers, and listed a number of other prominent politicians that have engaged in similar acts, such as Congressman Eliot Engle (D-Bronx) and Congressman Gary Ackerman (D-Queens).

The Wave spoke with the Congressman’s Executive Director, Patrick Jenkins, about the matter, and he issued the following statement.

"The Post obtained that information from documents submitted by our office to the Federal government. So, it’s not as if this information has not been disclosed," Jenkins said.

"Most of the trips that the Congressman took involved trade, housing, education and a host of other issues that he has to vote on. These issues are important on both the local and national scale."

Mike Mckay, Meeks’ press secretary in Washington, told the Post that most of the trips were aimed at helping people in the district, minority businesses or overall economic development. He went on to indicate that trips to Puerto Rico, which were paid for by the Vieques Legal Fund, were taken in order to show support for the anti-bombing campaign on the island of Vieques.

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