WASHINGTON — One of Sen. Jim Inhofe’s traveling companions to Africa this month was Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., who, like Inhofe, has equated his journeys to Africa with his religious faith. In a video made by The Christian Embassy, a ministry located near Washington, Aderholt referred to Ethiopia as "a place to share the Gospel and talk about our faith and our capacity as members of Congress.” Aderholt’s spokesman, Darrell J. Jordan, said Aderholt’s "trips to Africa have included meetings with national leadership to help address some of the problems that they experience, including poverty, genocide, AIDS, poor health care and living conditions.” Jordan said Aderholt’s "faith and values have and will always impact how he helps other countries and serves his constituents in Congress.”
Who pays the bill?Aderholt hasn’t used taxpayer money for all of his trips to Africa or other countries. According to his financial disclosuress, the International Foundation paid for his trip to Sudan in 2006 and for a trip he made to Serbia last year. The International Foundation, which puts on the National Prayer Breakfast and encourages lawmakers to forge bonds with world leaders, has paid for other trips abroad by members of Congress, including Sen. Tom Coburn. Coburn, R-Muskogee, visited Beirut in 2005 and the Virgin Islands in 2006 at the Christian foundation’s expense for activities related to the prayer breakfast. The trip to Beirut cost about $6,500 and the Virgin Islands trip cost about $1,000, according to financial disclosure reports.