- Video obtained by HuffPost shows Rep. Rodney Davis in the first-class section of an aeroplane flying from Chicago to Washington, DC, on Tuesday.
- A person can be heard asking why Davis was flying first class during the government shutdown and accusing him of using taxpayer money for the flight.
- A spokeswoman for Davis told HuffPost he bought a coach seat and was upgraded because of his frequent-flyer status.
- She added that Davis had never used taxpayer money to purchase first-class tickets.
A Republican representative was confronted by an airline passenger on Tuesday after he was seen flying first class from Chicago to Washington, DC, during the government shutdown.
Video obtained by HuffPost shows Rep. Rodney Davis, who represents Illinois’s 13th District, remaining silent as a fellow passenger, whom the news outlet did not identify, asks him about the flight.
“Congressman, do you think it’s appropriate to fly first class while 57 TSA agents aren’t being paid?” the passenger asked Davis, apparently referring to the 57,000 Transportation Security Administration employees who are working without pay across the country.
When Davis did not respond, the person who confronted him said, “Taking that as a yes,” and accused him of using taxpayer money for the flight.
A spokeswoman for Davis, Ashley Phelps, told HuffPost that the lawmaker had never used taxpayer money to purchase first-class tickets and did not do so for Tuesday’s flight.
Phelps said that Davis’ office bought a coach ticket but that he was upgraded to first class because of his frequent-flyer status.
“There was no additional cost to taxpayers,” she said.
A House of Representatives ethics officer told HuffPost that accepting the upgrade did not violate anti-corruption rules because it wasn’t exclusively available to Davis but anyone who had accumulated enough miles.
The government shutdown is in its 33rd day. The Senate is scheduled to vote on two proposals reopen the government on Thursday, though neither is expected to pass.
- Read more:
- Uber’s CEO says ‘the most needy’ furloughed government workers are starting to drive for the company, but that this isn’t how it wants to recruit
- These companies are giving away free food and services to federal employees affected by the government shutdown
- Product recalls can’t happen as usual during the government shutdown- and it could put consumers in a dangerous situation
- Nasdaq says the shutdown is paralyzing the IPO market – and the huge bottleneck of firms waiting to go public is getting worse
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.