The Hattiesburg American, 2/1/9

Congress’ attempts to eliminate lobbyist-funded travel seems to have prompted many to put away their suitcases. But some lawmakers, including Rep. Bennie Thompson, are still taking free trips.

Thompson, D-2nd District, took nine privately sponsored trips last year, based on a review of records by Gannett News Service. He visited the Caribbean island of St. Maarten with his wife and traveled to London; Daytona Beach, Fla.; Orlando, Fla.; Las Vegas; Albany, N.Y. and other destinations.

“The congressman sees it as part of his responsibilities as a member of Congress and as chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee to learn as much as he can through firsthand experience,” said Lanier Avant, Thompson’s chief of staff.