The tax money being wasted on Congressional junkets is getting the attention of voters in South Korea:
Public criticism mounted yesterday over news that a group of lawmakers who held secret negotiations on this year’s budget to shovel out pork hopped on airplanes shortly afterward for Latin America and Africa for what they called “research on appropriations.”
Nine lawmakers from the ruling Saenuri Party and the opposition Democratic United Party left the country shortly after the National Assembly approved the 2013 budget at dawn on New Year’s Day, the JoongAng Ilbo reported yesterday.
The passage was far beyond the statutory deadline of Dec. 2 and the first time ever the legislature failed to approve the budget by the end of the year. (……)
Their trips were paid for using the budget earmarked for the Special Committee on Budget and Accounts. About 150 million won ($141,376) was spent on the nine lawmakers’ airfares, lodging and other travel expenses.
Speculation also mounted that the lawmakers departed hurriedly without informing their party leadership because the budget for the trip had to be spent by Jan. 15. [Joong Ang Ilbo]