Rep. Doc Hastings, already under fire as chairman of the stalled House ethics committee, accepted a $7,800 trip to England in 2000 from a company he championed for a multibillion-dollar contract at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, records released by an advocacy group yesterday show.
In addition, other records released yesterday by a political Web site show that Hastings, a Republican from Pasco, did not file a required travel report for a 2004 trip to a resort on Stuart Island, B.C. That was paid for by another company also working at Hanford.Hastings has been under fire for not scheduling hearings on ethics allegations against House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
"This raises problems for Hastings as chairman of the ethics committee because one of the main issues he will face — if the committee ever gets its act together — will be privately paid congressional travel," said Larry Noble, director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a campaign-contribution watchdog group.
"If Hastings has the same problems as DeLay, there's a perception of a conflict of interest," Noble said. "He may say that everybody does it, but in his role as ethics chairman, he isn't everybody."