Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke’s Statement on a Recent Codel to Antigua
Today, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke released the following statement regarding allegations that she violated the law while recently traveling to the country of Antigua for the naming of the country’s highest peak as “Mount Obama:”
“The New York Post recently printed an article describing allegations that I broke the law governing travel funded by foreign governments. This is a reckless and groundless accusation.
“This Codel (Congressional Delegation) was preapproved, in writing, on July 29, 2009 by the House Committee on Standard of Official Conduct (House Ethics Committee). All the proper paperwork was filed before and after the trip. As customary when traveling on these business trips, my round trip seat was in coach. The Codel was all of three days, two of which were travel days, to and from Antigua. This documentation is made public at the House Office of the Clerks website: http://clerk.house.gov/GTImages/MT/2009/500002925.pdf. Please note the approval page in which the House Ethics Committee approves the trip, is included.
“Any allegations that this Codel was unethical or illegal are baseless. I followed all the proper procedures to ensure that this trip was approved by the House Ethics Committee. I am fully confident that the Ethics Committee would never approve a trip that was deemed illegal in any way, shape, or form.
“With all due respect to the author of this fictional account of my official duties, it should be noted that the 11th Congressional District includes one of the most diverse constituencies in the country, with one of the largest concentrations of Caribbean Americans in the nation. There are a number of challenges facing these nations that directly impact the United States. Drug trafficking, illicit gun trade and human trafficking across our borders are just a few examples of the many issues that need a coordinated response to effectively assist Caribbean people in their home countries and people of Caribbean descent that live in America.
“As an active Member of the House Homeland Security Committee, I recognize these complex and significant issues facing our ‘third border’ and understand that it would be counterproductive to our national security if we did not employ a consistent and productive dialogue with all the nations of the Caribbean. Furthermore, I take great offense to those who refer to this official Codel as a junket just because I’ve travelled to this part of the world. Too often, people only recognize the Caribbean for its beautiful beaches and destination resorts and fail to recognize that our fellow human beings in this region face some of the greatest challenges of our time. It is clear that this region has been marginalized for too long and my constituents understand that it is imperative that we continue to engage diplomacy in this part of the world. As long as I serve on the 11th Congressional District of Brooklyn, I will continue to travel to the Caribbean and actively encourage an open and productive relationship with the U.S.”