House Small Business ranking member Nydia Velázquez said a clerical error was to blame for her failure to file reports on foreign travel.
In November of that year, Velázquez’s per diem expenses were about $2,300 during a trip to Peru, Chile and Paraguay as part of an eight-member delegation led by Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.). Engel’s expenses for that trip, which were the same amounts as those reported by Velázquez, were disclosed by the Foreign Affairs Committee in February 2009.
The fourth trip that Velázquez disclosed March 9 was taken in April 2009 and included stops in Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Italy. The per diem costs for the 10-day excursion were $5,274. Velázquez spent five nights in Italy following a 6.3-magnitude earthquake in the country’s central region that killed several hundred people.
Velázquez’s office confirmed its CODEL disclosures are now up to date but declined to discuss any further details of the trips, such as the purpose of the travel or the itineraries.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.