Grapevine: Washington globetrotters

Lawmaker trips on taxpayers' tab


Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine...

Money for Nothing?

The FBI has launched an investigation involving Virginia Governor and rising Republican star Bob McDonnell after questions about gifts from a campaign donor.

The Associated Press reports the CEO of a nutritional supplement company paid $15,000 for catering at the wedding of McDonnell's daughter.

The AP reports the feds want to know if the company, Star Scientific, benefited in any way from the gift.

McDonnell says it did not.

And he says he did not report the gift because it was to a family member.

Star Scientific has given nearly $80,000 to McDonnell's Political Action Committee and almost $30,000 to his 2009 campaign.

Washington Globetrotters

In this time of soaring airfares and tightening budgets, you might be interested to learn about the globetrotting trips lawmakers are taking on the taxpayer's tab.

In February, Texas Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee traveled to Korea, Vietnam, and Cambodia as part of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption.

But, she did not travel with the official delegation -- instead booking separate commercial flights.

Her transportation costs totaled nearly $20,000 around the world.

A spokesman says Jackson Lee had a prior engagement in her home district that conflicted with the official travel plans.                   

Last month, six members of a bipartisan delegation traveled to Rome for the papal installation.

The two-day trip cost taxpayers almost $63,000. 

A Lesson in Fraud 101

And finally, a tip for the aspiring thieves and con artists out there.

When using a stolen credit card, maxing out the card by bidding on a date with the CEO of Apple will probably raise some red flags.

Last week, Apple offered up coffee with CEO Tim Cook to a charity auction. The starting bid -- 50 grand.

Yesterday, the high bid of $605,000 was pulled back.

Fortune magazine reports it was made with a stolen credit card.