"Investigative reporter John B. Roberts II, following up on a story he read in The Tahoe Daily Tribune, discovered that Senator Dianne Feinstein's (D-CA) office was chartering low-cost flights for California anti-gun activists to join the 'Million Mom March' in Washington, D.C.
'Taxpayers fund Senate staff salaries, and this kind of on-the-clock political activism is strictly forbidden', noted Roberts. 'As an investigative journalist, I realized the only way to confirm the story's accuracy was to call Feinstein's office and ask about cheap flights so I could join the March.'
'A young woman named Megan affirmed that cheap fares were available, and transferred my call to the voice mail of Katie Gardiner, a Feinstein staff member', reported Roberts. 'I left a detailed message, and a few hours later Judy, an anti-gun activist from Los Angeles, called me with the details.
She told me I could buy a Northwest Airlines roundtrip coach ticket on only three days notice for $250, and offered me a choice of departure flights from either San Jose or San Francisco, the closest airports to Lake Tahoe. To confirm a seat, I was to e-mail Judy my credit card number, billing address, expiration date, the names of passengers, and a fax number so that Northwest could send me a confirmation.
'Judy warned me not to call Northwest and ask a reservation agent for this fare,' Roberts said. 'Judy told me, this has been worked out between the senator's office and the government relations people. The ticket agents won't be able to get you this price.'
When Roberts called Northwest to ask their cheapest available coach price for the same route on three days notice, the reservationist quoted a price of $2,391.00 roundtrip. 'If I wanted to fly into Baltimore instead of Reagan National, I could shave a few hundred dollars and get a ticket for about $2,100,' Roberts was told.
Roberts discovered that Northwest Airlines gave Feinstein's office 200 of these cut-rate seats. 'The difference between the fares amounts to a subsidy from Northwest of at least $420,000,' explained Roberts. 'Of course, Northwest Airlines isn't really paying that subsidy - other Northwest passengers are making up the price difference in the fares they pay.'
Roberts feels Northwest may have offered this subsidy in states other than California. 'Because I live in Senator Feinstein's district, it was fairly simple for me to probe this scam,' said Roberts. 'Had I begun checking on discounts from other states, I have no doubt the anti-gunners would have wised up, and clammed up. But if the fares were offered in other states, Northwest's true subsidy to the 'Million Mom March' is in the millions of dollars.'
Other airlines which offered reduced fares to anti-gun activists are Continental, US Airways, American and Delta. 'But their discounts were in the 5-15% range, typical of those airlines often give for group travel,' said Roberts. 'In contrast, Northwest's steep discounts were virtual giveaways.'
Northwest has a history of generous contributions to Democrats. In 1996, the airlines gave $221,400 in soft money contributions to the Democratic Party and Clinton-Gore reelection campaign.
'The question yet to be answered is what Northwest wants from Senator Feinstein in return for underwriting her anti-gun activism,' posed Roberts. 'If there is a quid pro quo involved, whereby Senator Feinstein does a favor for Northwest in exchange for their help with the march, the act or vote would be illegal. Feinstein sits on the powerful Senator Appropriations Committee, giving her the ability to influence legislation containing federal grants affecting the airline industry.'
NRA members planning their summer travel should remember Northwest's anti-gun activism when booking flights."
HENCH adds: Your tax dollars at work, in an effort to steal your 2nd amendment rights. Any idiot that votes for Dianne WhineSwine should be removed from the voting ranks just like a convicted felon. Northwest airlines? BOYCOTT!
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