JACKSON, Mississippi — Dr. Milton Wolf, the conservative primary challenger to Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), is calling on Roberts to publicly denounce his U.S. Senate colleague, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), for bringing his executive assistant, Kay Webber, on 33 taxpayer-funded trips and a total of 42 foreign countries.
“As a member of the Senate Ethics Committee, Pat Roberts should immediately condemn Thad Cochran’s blatant abuse of taxpayer dollars,” Wolf said in a statement provided to Breitbart News.
And if Roberts is unwilling to condemn it, then he should give up his seat on the Senate Ethics Committee. Either way, it should come as no surprise that Roberts has allowed Cochran’s waste of taxpayer dollars to happen right under his nose – Roberts has lived in Washington for 47 years and has lost touch with the real world.
In response, Sarah Little, Roberts’ spokeswoman, distanced Roberts from Cochran’s actions, noting that he was “not involved” in the decision to bring her.
“Official U.S. Senate travel is a matter of public record. Senator Roberts was one member of an official trip as part of his Senate and committee responsibilities. He was not involved in selecting other members of the delegation,” Little said.
Wolf’s venture into a heated controversy of a campaign is unusual. Like Mississippi state Senator Chris McDaniel, Wolf has been backed by top national conservative groups, including the Senate Conservatives Fund. However, McDaniel has drawn a lion’s share of media attention after a story in February about Wolf posting x-rays and dark humor on his Facebook page.
According to travel records published in the Congressional Record, Webber accompanied Cochran as a staffer on dozens of taxpayer-funded trips to 42 countries at a cost of more than $150,000.
Cochran’s conspicuous relationship with Webber has come under question from government watchdogs. It has become a major issue in the Senate campaign after a crazed blogger was arrested for photographing Cochran’s wife, Rose, at a retirement home in Madison, MS. Webber began working for Cochran in 1981 and is his executive assistant, but she is also Cochran’s landord. Cochran’s campaign has paid Webber for the use of the house they both live in for fundraisers. Cochran’s campaign says he lives in a basement apartment with its own separate entrances.
Bill Allison, the editorial director of the Sunlight Foundation, has called for Senate Ethics Committee and Federal Election Commission (FEC) investigations of Cochran and Webber over fundraisers Webber hosted at her Capitol Hill address.
“I can’t think of a relationship between a member of Congress and a staffer that’s quite like this,” Allison said. He elaborated by stating:
It’s almost like a tangled knot. You don’t know quite where to begin–there’s the taxpayer-funded travel, there’s the fundraising questions, there’s how she rents him this apartment in this house close to Capitol Hill where they have fundraisers. For a senator to have so many connections to somebody who is ostensibly his employee…it’s definitely something worth looking into. Every time you publish something new, it’s like you wonder: Is there a next shoe that’s going to drop?
Besides his seat on the Senate Ethics Committee, Roberts is also connected to the Cochran-Webber trips because he accompanied them on three of those trips, according to the Congressional Record: a 2004 trip to South America, a 2006 trip to the United Kingdom, and a 2013 trip to Africa and South America.