Sen. Orrin Hatch traveled to France earlier this month to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. While there, Hatch, his staff and security detail spent $11,000 on hotel rooms in Paris.
Quartz reports Hatch was on an official visit as President Pro Tempore of the Senate, standing in for Vice President Mike Pence meeting with French elected officials.
Hatch’s overseas trip isn’t that unusual, Congressional watchdogs say. The price tag is high, but can be explained because Hatch was traveling with an entourage, said Craig Holman, the government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group.
The tab doesn’t include transportation costs, meaning the $11,000 is probably a fraction of what was spent on the Paris portion of the trip.
Hatch’s office provided the following statement to UtahPolicy.com:
“Senator Hatch visited Paris on official business as President Pro Tempore, along with minimal diplomatic staff and his required security detail. There he met with French religious and elected officials, along with U.S. Ambassador Jamie McCourt, to discuss trade, national security, and religious liberty. He also visited Normandy where he laid wreaths with local mayors at the American cemetery and at Pointe Du Hoc, as a tribute to his brother and others who fell in World War II. During his meetings, he was briefed on the challenges in maintaining and preserving the grounds.”
Hatch flew to Croatia after leaving France where he met with the president and prime minister. He also was given an award by the Croatian government for his “contributions to the independence of the Republic of Croatia and American people.