The next day, Bachmann was a guest on the Fox Business morning program "Money for Breakfast," apparently in the show's studio in New York. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) was interviewed in the same segment from a studio in Milwaukee. Vought was reimbursed $386 for lodging costs for Monday night, and the two flew back to D.C. on Tuesday at a total cost of $130. Bachmann was back in Washington in time for a 2 p.m. Financial Services Committee hearing on Jan. 13.
The topics of the program and the hearing were the same: the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which Bachmann opposed.
Bachmann's office accounts show other trips outside her district that do not correlate with public appearances, but after June 2009, the House stopped disclosing the destination of office-funded travel, so it is impossible to know where Bachmann has gone on the taxpayer dime since then.
Many Members who appear on New York-based TV programs have the costs covered by the networks, and those costs are reported to the House Ethics Committee as "gift travel." For instance, a month after Bachmann's trip, CBS News paid for Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) and her husband, Rep. Connie Mack IV (R-Fla.), to fly to New York and spend the night before the Congresswoman's appearance on "The Early Show" to discuss her son's drug addiction.
Bachmann's office defended all of her expenses as proper uses of the Congressional account.
"Congresswoman Bachmann listens to the people who sent her to the House, works for reform on their behalf, and knows that they share her profound concern with Washington's taxing, spending, regulating and bailouts. She also communicates back to them and communications is a key responsibility of her Congressional office. The expenditures you've highlighted were all consistent with the official responsibilities of the Congresswoman and her staff on behalf of the people of Minnesota's Sixth Congressional District," Sachtleben said.