Conflicts of Interest Rampant in Pentagon Travel: Study
Foreign governments, private firms back officials' trips
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 11, 2009 10:39 AM CDT
The Pentagon is seen from Air Force One after take off from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, on May 29, 2007.    (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – Pentagon officials have taken some 22,000 trips whose $26 million tab was picked up by non-governmental sources like private firms and foreign governments, a study finds. The travel is “riddled with conflicts of interest,” said the head of a group behind the study. The medical industry was the top source, he said, paying for $10 million in jaunts for military doctors and pharmacists, the Washington Post reports.

For example, a medical firm funded 15 trips for an Army doctor who later exaggerated the advantages of a drug the firm sold; a Saudi prince paid for a journey by an official from a department dealing with his government. “When we visit other countries at their invitation, it is common for the host country to pay” for various needs, said a Pentagon spokesman, noting that the US does the same for foreign dignitaries.