House ethics committee OKs Pingree's flights on jet

Posted Sept. 28, 2010, at 9:48 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — The House ethics committee has OK’d Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree’s use of her fiance’s corporate jet for personal travel.

A letter signed by Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California and Republican Rep. Jo Bonner of Alabama says transportation qualifies as a gift and that House members may accept gifts from family members. It further states that a fiance is treated as a relative.

The jet flap erupted after a video surfaced of Pingree disembarking from a Dassault Falcon owned by Wall Street financier S. Donald Sussman. She told the Portland Press Herald that the two had kept their 2008 engagement quiet.

Pingree previously criticized the use of corporate jets by members of Congress. She said “public perception is critical” in written testimony.

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