As we exclusively reported Friday night, Rep. Ted Lieu, who constantly berates those who aren’t following “the science” and is in favor of every totalitarian mandate and lockdown California “public health” officials promulgate, took his elderly parents on a cruise to Bermuda for Thanksgiving, then traveled to Hawaii for Christmas, and went to an NFL game at Los Angeles’ Sofi Stadium *maskless* with his wife and brother in October. Yet, he filed a “proxy letter” with the Clerk of the House of Representatives for the week of January 10, stating that he couldn’t travel to Washington DC due to the “ongoing public health emergency.”
Well, it turns out that he filed five of those proxy letters in 2021, including one covering the time he went to Bermuda for Thanksgiving and just before the October 10 NFL game between his hometown Cleveland Browns and the Los Angeles Chargers that he attended.
That’s right. The “ongoing public health emergency” prevented him from traveling to do his taxpayer-funded job, but it didn’t prevent him from flying to New York City, traveling from the airport to the cruise terminal, and then sailing to Bermuda on a floating petri dish with his 80-year-old mother and 77-year-old father, and it didn’t prevent him from going to a professional sporting event with 70,237 other people – while maskless.
The House was in session the entire week of November 15, and on November 23 and 26 (Tuesday and Friday of Thanksgiving week). Even though Lieu filed his proxy letter with the Clerk of the House of Representatives on November 17, he must have filed it after that day’s business ended since we know that Lieu attended the November 17 session in person (probably because he wanted to vote to censure Rep. Paul Gosar). Apparently the Build Back Better Act wasn’t as important, since Lieu was absent on Thursday the 18th and Friday the 19th, when the House passed the Build Back Better Act. Lieu’s vote is counted as a yea, but House records show it was cast by his proxy, Rep. Don Beyer.
The House was also in session when Lieu was in Hawaii, which was sometime around December 22, according to his own December 29, 2021 tweet. There’s no indication that Lieu was performing any official duties in Hawaii from his social media.
While Lieu was traveling by airplane for luxurious family vacations, we know from his numerous proxy letters he wasn’t traveling to his job in Washington, DC much last fall. You wouldn’t know that by looking at Lieu’s campaign account, though, since he spent quite a bit on airplane tickets in 2021 – far more than he did in 2020 – including some odd expenditures around the time that the cruise likely would have been booked. (While the government pays for a lot of Congressional travel to/from DC, Members also use campaign funds for that travel.) In fact, in 2020, from the time shutdowns really started (3/15) through the end of that year, Lieu’s campaign spent less than $2,000 on airfare – even though it was an election year.
In 2021, though, Lieu’s campaign spent more than $20,000 on airfare just in the first nine months of the year, and $8,600 of that was spent on one day – August 3, 2021. In light of Lieu’s apparent reluctance to travel because of the pandemic and the fact that it wasn’t really a busy time in terms of campaign activity, that level of spending really sticks out.
Judging by Lieu’s social media, he also wasn’t jetting around to events that would have been campaign-related, unless they were secret, maskless events like Nancy Pelosi’s Napa fundraiser. (Even so, Napa is hardly an expensive slog from Los Angeles.)
For contrast, Lieu’s buddy Rep. Adam Schiff, whose Los Angeles district borders Ted’s, spent around $6,000 on airfare during the same period om 2021.
But, hypothetically speaking, flying six people (i.e., Mrs. Lieu and the two children, Ted’s parents, and Ted’s brother) from California to New York, roundtrip, around Thanksgiving for the family cruise could get a little pricey – and the time frames line up.
Celebrity’s Bermuda cruises were a limited-run series of week-long voyages either from Boston or New York City, running from late August through the Thanksgiving week cruise the Lieus were on. The series was announced on a luxury travel blog on July 15, just over two weeks before the airfare expenditures were recorded.
The FEC forms for the airfare expenditures ($2,000 each to Delta and United, and $600 to Alaska Airlines) don’t list passengers, date of travel, the cities traveled to/from, or the purpose of the trip, so it’s impossible to know if they’re for a permissible campaign expense or not.
There’s no direct evidence that these were the plane tickets purchased by Lieu’s campaign on August 3, 2021, but considering what we know about how Lieu has used campaign contributions before (to help pay off his wife’s alleged campaign debt and “charitable” contributions to his alma mater, Stanford, where his oldest son is now a student), the time frames, and the lack of detail/explanation on Lieu’s FEC filings, the question must be asked. Were these expenditures for personal use or not? Lieu’s treasurer should have the necessary information to answer that question.
As stated in Friday night’s story, we’ve come to expect this type of behavior from “progressive” Democrat politicians, especially during this pandemic. They refuse to follow the rules they expect the rest of us to follow, they’re insulated from the economic havoc and destruction the shutdowns have caused, try to tell us that the empty shelves we see right in front of our eyes aren’t actually empty, while at the same time taking lavish international vacations and ignoring masking “rules.”
Conservatives laugh at Lieu’s stunts because we’ve been following common sense prevention measures instead of joining the Cult of Fauci, but I wonder how the millions of fear-addled Democrats who literally only take the mask down to take a quick bite or sip, who don the mask as they drive solo in their Priuses, and who go into panic attack mode if another human being steps within their 6-foot bubble feel about Ted’s outright defiance of these new social conventions? Will they even care? How do front-line workers, who cannot do their job remotely and are forced to be out in close contact with the unwashed masses, feel about Lieu using pandemic proxy vote rules as a way to play hooky from work?
And, will his donors have any questions about how Lieu is spending the dollars they contribute? At the very least they should have questions and demand answers. But they might want to wait until after my next installment in the Ted Lieu’s Creative Uses for Donor Dollars series drops in the next few days.