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Commentary: Congress clueless about retreats

  • Story Highlights
  • Brown: Both parties hold retreats at luxurious resorts
  • Brown: That sends the wrong message in these hard times
  • Brown: If Wall Street can't do it, why should Congress?
  • Brown: Most money spent is theirs, but taxpayer dollars involved, too
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Editor's note: Campbell Brown anchors CNN's "Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull" at 8 p.m. ET Mondays through Fridays. She delivered this commentary during the "Cutting through the Bull" segment of Thursday night's broadcast.

CNN's Campbell Brown says legislators already see each other constantly, why do they need to get away together?

CNN's Campbell Brown says legislators already see each other constantly, why do they need to get away together?

(CNN) -- Leave it to members of Congress to be completely daft, entirely clueless, and unbelievably out of touch.

Seriously, only a member of Congress can make a Wall Street executive seem like a sympathetic figure these days. And boy, do they make my job easy.

Yes, while our representatives have been jumping up and down screaming about the excesses of Wall Street, condemning those corporate boondoggle trips to luxurious resorts, what do they do?

They all go away on retreat together to a luxurious resort.

First it was Republicans, who last week decamped to the lovely Homestead Resort, famous for its golf, fly-fishing, and luxurious accommodations, with its own golf course and five star amenities.

Now, in fairness, members do pay for lodging with personal funds or their campaign accounts. But yes, taxpayers do foot the bill for some of the expenses.

For example, according to, we all paid about $70,000 for Democrats to take the train down to last year's getaway.

Then they racked up phone and Internet bills of more than $40,000 on our dime. Not to mention the enormous security costs, which are even higher this year with the president and vice president both stopping by.

How exactly in this economic climate Congress could possibly see the need to all go on a spa retreat together is frankly beyond me.

Their offices are next door to one another. They see each other every day. Yes, they have important businesses to do on behalf of all of us. But can't they do that in Washington?

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And at the very least, members of Congress, don't any of you get how bad this looks, how terrible the optics are?

In the middle of an economic crisis, not a single one of you says, "Hey, maybe this is the year we skip the luxurious resort getaway and just hunker down here at home."


And these are the people we are counting on to get us out of this mess.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Campbell Brown.

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