Thursday, May 25, 2006

JUDICIAL TRAVEL -- Few are aware that judges are able to accept free trips to seminars and other educational events, but it seems those trips are coming under greater scrutiny:
Two organizations that have provided free trips to hundreds of federal judges received large contributions from tobacco, oil and other corporate interests, according to documents released yesterday.

The Montana-based Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment (FREE) and George Mason University's Law & Economics Center previously said corporate money does not pay for the judges' seminars or declined to disclose their donors.

But documents released by the Community Rights Counsel, a nonprofit Washington law firm, show that corporations including Exxon Mobil, Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco have contributed tens of thousands of dollars toward these programs. The new information comes as judicial trips are receiving increased scrutiny on Capitol Hill, where bills would either outlaw such trips or create an inspector general for the judicial branch.