A US non-profit (the UK equivalent would be a charity), spending US$2,471.70 on one nights’ accommodation for a US senator might ordinarily raise some eyebrows but, to be fair, this non-profit is the Atlantic Bridge, Inc., which has been established as a travel club for senior members of the British Conservative Party and their US allies.
To be clear, that US$2,471.70 (about £1,450 at the time) was for Senator Jon Kyl’s hotel room only. There’s no travel in that total; his airfare, also met the US charity, was US$4,405.63 (£2,650) and a further US$100 (£60) went on food (perhaps he was saving himself for that night’s fund raising dinner).
Senator Jon Kyl is a particularly good friend of the Conservatives and was in London to see Henry Kissinger receive the oxymoronic Margaret Thatcher Medal of Freedom. A similar event with Rudolph Giuliani in 2007 raised £53,037 with an event auction raising a further £40,000 (US$185,265 in total). The cheap seats at this event were £400 (US$650), with priority seating available at an extra £350 (US$580).
As the Honorary US chair of the Atlantic Bridge, Senator Jon Kyl is one of the people these charities (the Atlantic Bridge consists of a UK and a US charity) have been established to support. Their role is to divert money that would otherwise be collected as tax to supporting the Thatcherite wing of the British Conservative Party. They ensure that instead of helping pay for healthcare, education, national debt or equipping troops in Afghanistan, this money instead ensures that people like Sen. Jon Kyl have somewhere nice to stay while on their jollies.
Interestingly, Sen. Jon Kyl’s hotel bill did catch the eye of the Senate Select Committee on Ethics. But Sen. Jon Kyl was able to fob them off. He blamed the well-known Tory Party fundraiser Sallie Hendry and claimed that the fundraiser was actually an educational event.
Given our MPs’ current reputation, the suspicion must be that the only educating going on was Sen. Jon Kyl receiving a master class in how to maximise one’s expenses.
Posts on the Atlantic Bridge are collected here.