ABC News’ Jonathan Karl and Luis Martinez report: Which Speaker of the House used military aircraft more frequently: Nancy Pelosi or Dennis Hastert?
ABC News reported earlier this week that former aides to Hastert say the former Illinois congressman traveled more frequently on military aircraft to his district when he was Speaker than the current House Speaker does, but now the watchdog group Judicial Watch says the records show Pelosi takes more flights.
To prove their case, Judicial Watch has posted documents obtained from the Pentagon on Speaker Hastert’s use of military aircraft from January 2004 through January 2007. The documents show a total of 33 military flights either taken or arranged by Speaker Hastert during this three year period. In contrast, documents obtained by Judicial Watch for 2007 and 2008 show 62 flights for taken or arranged by Speaker Pelosi.
Does this settle the matter? Not necessarily. The documents obtained by Judicial Watch include a large gap: There are no records from the period June 2004 to July 2006. That would suggest that Speaker Hastert either did not use any military aircraft for a two-year period, or there are some documents missing.
"I don’t know whether or not these records are complete for Speaker Hastert or for Speaker Pelosi, but the records show that Pelosi has used military aircraft more than Hastert," says Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. Judicial Watch has posted online all of the documents it has obtained regarding the travel of both Speakers.
For the period where there are documents, the records show Hastert using military air at a greater frequency than Pelosi. From September 6 until December 20, 2006, for example, Hastert had 17 flights between Illinois and Washington on military aircraft. As is the case with Speaker Pelosi, Hastert flew on military aircraft because of post-September 11 security requirements.
"In the days after September 11, the president felt it was very important for the Speaker to fly on military air and he did so," former Hastert spokesman John Feehery told ABC News.