Judicial Watch has uncovered documents that show how often Speaker Pelosi requests access to military travel to shuttle her family and her where ever she would like to go. Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton remarks that she uses the Air Force so often that she "treats the Air Force like her personal airline."
- In response to a series of requests for military aircraft, one Defense Department official wrote, "Any chance of politely querying [Pelosi's team] if they really intend to do all of these or are they just picking every weekend?...[T]here's no need to block every weekend 'just in case'..." The email also notes that Pelosi's office had, "a history of canceling many of their past requests."
- One DOD official complained about the "hidden costs" associated with the speaker's last minute changes and cancellations. "We have...folks prepping the jets and crews driving in (not a short drive for some), cooking meals and preflighting the jets etc."
- The documents include a discussion of House Ethics rules and Defense Department policies as they apply to the speaker's requests for staff, spouses and extended family to accompany her on military aircraft. In May 2008, for example, Pelosi requested that her husband join her on a Congressional Delegation (CODEL) into Iraq. The DOD explained to Pelosi that the agency has a written policy prohibiting spouses from joining CODEL's into combat zones.
- Documents obtained from the U.S. Army include correspondence from Speaker Pelosi's office requesting an Army escort and three military planes to transport Pelosi and other members of Congress to Cleveland, Ohio, for the funeral services of the late Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones. Pelosi noted in her letter of August 22, 2008, that such a request, labeled "Operation Tribute" was an "exception to standard policy."
- The documents also detail correspondence from intermediaries for Speaker Pelosi issuing demands for certain aircraft and expressing outrage when requested military planes were not available. "It is my understanding there are no G5s available for the House during the Memorial Day recess. This is totally unacceptable...The speaker will want to know where the planes are..." wrote Kay King, Director of the House Office of Interparliamentary Affairs. In a separate email, when told a certain type of aircraft would not be available, King writes, "This is not good news, and we will have some very disappointed folks, as well as a very upset [s]peaker."
- During another email exchange DOD staff advised Kay King that one Pelosi military aircraft request could not be met because of "crew rest requirements" and offered to help secure commercial travel. Kay King responded: "We appreciate the efforts to help the codel [sic] fly commercially but you know the problem that creates with spouses. If we can find another way to assist with military assets, we would like to do that."
Her sense of entitlement to the Air Force is shocking to say the least, but not surprising. Two years ago I criticized the Speaker for this kind of excess when I said she was drunk with power. Looks like she's still partying while the rest of America tightens its belt during this economic downturn.
She expects the military to be at her beck and call. One of the documents alludes to her booking aircraft numerous times just to cancel at the last minute, wasting taxpayer money. Another email tells us that if the Speaker didn't get what she wanted, she would throw a hissy fit, essentially.