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Judicial Watch Wants More Information On Congressional Delegation Travel

By Alex Gangitano, CQ-Roll Call (TNS)

WASHINGTON — The Defense Department has a lawsuit on its hands over lawmakers jetting off together.

The group Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom of Information lawsuit seeking records about official congressional delegation travel, also known as CODELs. Air Force jets and personnel usually are the means of travel for CODELs, and Judicial Watch is looking for records concerning travel costs.

“Congress, under both Republicans and Democrats, has a long record of abusing taxpayers and the military with wasteful ‘official’ travel,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a press release.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., has declined to use Air Force jets to travel between Wisconsin and Washington, which former Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, also did.

In 2009, Judicial Watch knocked Rep. Nancy Pelosi for what it said was the “abuse” of using Air Force jets to travel between her congressional district and Washington when the California Democrat was speaker. The practice was utilized because of her place in the presidential succession process, behind the vice president.

In August, the group requested congressional travel records from the Air Force and was “ignored,” according to its release. The request involved records regarding mission-taskings of flights escorting members, transportation costs for members, passenger manifests for transporting members and weekly travel reports for members.

Judicial Watch has also previously sued for information on President Barack Obama’s presidential travels and how much taxpayers pay for them.

©2016 CQ-Roll Call, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Photo: Members of the House of Representatives meet on Capitol Hill on January 6, 2015 in Washington, DC

Foreign Policy Responses To State Of The Union High On Social Media

By Alex Gangitano, CQ-Roll Call (TNS)

WASHINGTON — The top social moment on Facebook on Tuesday night came when President Barack Obama spoke on anti-Muslim sentiment in his final State of the Union, according to follow up data from the social media platform.

The top issues among Facebook users in general as seen through engagement were Iran, Islam and Muslims, ISIS, terrorism and food stamps.

Maryland and Virginia were the top one and two most-engaged states. Georgia was third, followed by New York and North Carolina.

For women, the top issues were food stamps, education and Wall Street. And for men, the top issues were Islam and Muslims, ISIS and terrorism.

According to data released by Twitter, the top tweeted topics were foreign affairs, energy and the environment, and then the economy.

“I stand here confident that the state of our union is strong,” was Obama’s most-tweeted statement, followed by, “We have to reduce the influence of money in our politics.” Coming in third: “I will keep working to shut down the prison at Guantanamo. It’s expensive, it’s unnecessary.”

Turning to the 2016 campaign on Tuesday night, presidential candidate Donald Trump gained more Twitter followers than any other White House hopeful, followed by Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernard Sanders, who was present at the address.

©2016 CQ-Roll Call, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Photo: U.S. President Barack Obama smiles as he delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington, January 12, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria