Congress' Business Jet Ban May Go Too Far

Business Jet Traveler » February 2007
Thursday, February 1, 2007 - 4:00am

Some members of Congress believe a measure being promoted by the Democratic Party leadership not only would prohibit representatives from using official or campaign funds to pay for use of private airplanes but would also prohibit those who are private pilots from flying their own airplanes.

The proposed ban is part of a series of measures adopted by the House that would prohibit representatives from accepting meals, entertainment and trips from lobbyists. As written, however, the rule "would prohibit members from using their personal funds for travel on their own aircraft for any purpose whatsoever, whether official or personal," said Rep. Darrel Issel (R-Calif.).

Issel also said the proposal would prohibit members of Congress from flying aboard "a nongovernment airplane that is not licensed by the FAA to operate for compensation or hire." He pointed out that the FAA licenses operators and carriers, not aircraft. Thus the rule would technically prohibit the members from flying on any airplane not owned by the government.

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Quote/Unquote

““When I made the film The Invention of Lying, they gave me a private jet for getting back and forth between New York and London. I thought, ‘I will never use it’ but I ended up using it every weekend. You turn up, right, and the airport is completely empty. I mean, there’s just someone at the desk and then the pilot, who says, ‘Are you ready to go?’ and you say, ‘Don’t you want to see my passport?’ and he goes, ‘Oh yeah, I suppose I’d better.’” ”

-—actor and comedian Ricky Gervais