Barney Frank flew free in bailout billionaire’s jet

Not good publicity for the chairman, whose race has become much more interesting in recent weeks:

U.S. Rep. Barney Frank didn’t get just a free luxury jet ride to the Virgin Islands with a financier who got a $200 million federal bailout, he also stayed at the billionaire’s tropical mansion, his aide said.

“They’re friends. Are you not supposed to have friends if they’re wealthy?” Frank spokesman Harry Gural said of the Newton Democrat’s relationship with S. Donald Sussman.

That’s an interesting way of framing it. I think the answer is that you’re not supposed to bail out your wealthy friends.

But the story gets better:

Frank, who has become the face of the unpopular federal bailouts, told the Herald the trip was “personal,” saying he and his partner, Jim Ready, are friends of Sussman and his fiancee, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine). Gural said all four stayed at Sussman’s St. Thomas manse.

Frank reported the cost of the flight from Maine to the Virgin Islands at $1,500, but reported no other expenses. Aviation experts pegged the total cost of such a flight at as much as $30,000 each way.

Barney FrankBeltway Confidentialelection 2010US

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