HIGHTOWER: Trent's Trip to Fantasy Island
It's wintertime ... do you know where your congressman is?A-junketing they have gone/ A-junketing they have gone/ Hi Ho the merri-o/ A-junketing they have gone!Five Republican Senators, led by Majority Leader Trent Lott, made an especially-interesting January jaunt to Sunny Central America for an essential fact-finding mission. To help them find facts, their wives made the trip, too.Among their stops was a two-day stay at Fantasy Island, a Caribbean luxury resort on the Honduran coast. Apparently there were plenty of facts to look for along the Island's crescent white-sand beaches, sailing on the clear blue waters and scuba diving among its spectacular coral reefs.Not that this was a pleasure trip by any means! Senator Lott, who says he hates wasteful government spending, issued a statement explaining that his group was there because [quote] "We want to demonstrate that the Senate continues to understand the importance of Central America for our country's interests."Right.Senator John Breaux was along for the ride, too, claiming he wants to increase trade between his state of Louisiana and Central America. Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas said he made the trip to look into anti-drug issues -- probably from the vantage point of the resorts' bar. Senator Mike DeWine said he went because of his interest in improving Central America's judicial systems. But Alaska Senator Frank Murkowski had the lamest excuse, saying he wanted to increase seafood exports from his state to the region. Hey, Frank -- it's an island ... they have seafood.This is Jim Hightower saying ... Total cost to us taxpayers has not been reported, but the five Senators flew on a special military jet the size of a 707, outfitted with a 20-member crew, including five stewards to serve them. By the way, Fantasy Island used to be a hideout for Carribean Pirates. Remember their junket next time you hear these 5 pirates complaining about government waste.Source: "Senators' Tour includes 2 nights at island resort" by Eric Schmitt. New York Times: Jan. 7, 1998.