The Clarion-Ledger, 6/17/8

Rep. Travis Childers got a raise when he was sworn in to Congress, Rep. Bennie Thompson took a dozen privately funded trips last year, and Rep. Gene Taylor is still the poorest lawmaker in the Mississippi delegation, according to financial records released Monday.

Members of Congress are required to file annual financial disclosure statements. The reports offer a broad look at lawmakers’ finances. They report assets, income and debts in wide ranges and can exclude the value of primary residences, furniture and other items. Lawmakers also are required to report trips paid for by others, and any boards or foundations they may serve on.

The House recently imposed new curbs on privately funded travel, especially if a trip has little to do with a lawmaker’s official business or is paid for by a company that employs a lobbyist.

There’s also a new rule that requires lawmakers to get approval from the House ethics committee before taking a privately funded trip, a change aimed at eliminating some of the travel.