The Hill, 12/16/8

For at least five of the last six years, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and several other members of the Congressional Black Caucus have spent a few days each fall at a different luxurious Caribbean island resort.

The trip’s official mission is to facilitate business and diplomatic relationships between the region and the United States.

This year’s trip took place Nov. 6 to 9, the weekend after the election, on the sun-swept 10-acre Sonesta Maho Beach Resort in St. Martin. The ethics committee approved the Caribbean trip, as it has done for several years, but new information uncovered about its corporate funding raises questions about whether the trip violates a two-year-old ethics rule passed after Democrats regained the House.

The New York Carib News Foundation, a nonprofit affiliated with a newspaper geared toward the city’s Caribbean community, is listed on members’ travel disclosure documents as the trip’s sponsor.

In 2007, Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) and then-Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio), joined Rangel, Del. Donna Christensen (D-Virgin Islands), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) at the annual conference. At the time, Tubbs Jones chaired the ethics committee.