Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

PolitiFact: Bachmann's "$100,000 bar tab" barb on House Speaker Pelosi was $93,000 too strong

The statement

"Speaker Pelosi … has been busy sticking the taxpayer with her $100,000 bar tab for alcohol on the military jets that she's flying."

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn, Sept. 17 in a speech to the Values Voter Summit

The ruling

Addressing the Values Voter Summit, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., took a shot at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., saying she "has been busy sticking the taxpayer with her $100,000 bar tab for alcohol on the military jets that she's flying." That's a reference to the Air Force jets that Pelosi uses to fly internationally and back to her home in San Francisco. (Her GOP predecessor, Dennis Hastert of Illinois, used them as well.)

Pelosi's office countered that the speaker "does not drink alcohol" and that there "is no alcohol service on the domestic flights the Air Force operates for travel from Washington to San Francisco for the Speaker."

The original source of Bachmann's allegation was a large collection of documents obtained by Judicial Watch. In a press release, Judicial Watch wrote that "the Speaker's military travel cost the United States Air Force $2,100,745 over a two-year period — $101,429 of which was for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol." The release cited one congressional delegation that went to Baghdad in 2008, taking top-shelf scotch, whiskey, gin, rum, beer and wine.

Bachmann says Pelosi has spent $100,000 on alcohol, but that doesn't fly with the Judicial Watch summary. The news release said that the $101,429 amount was for "in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol." And determined that the sum spent on alcohol is a small part of that amount, and that not all of the expenses were in-flight.

"Judicial Watch counted as 'in-flight expenses' any non-reimbursable Air Force expenditure besides transportation costs," wrote, and that included "baggage fees, meeting room rentals and refreshments, … good-will lapel pins … meals, ground transportation and lodging in U.S. territory."

Judicial Watch confirmed that "the tab amount includes, but is not limited to, alcohol and food."

Assuming no alcohol is served on Pelosi's domestic flights, found that she took a total of 12 international trips, with a total alcohol tab of less than $7,000. Bachmann should have read the Judicial Watch news release more closely. She cited a figure for alcohol that was close to the much larger number for all nonplane costs of the trip. We rate her claim Pants on Fire.

Edited for print. For more, go to

PolitiFact: Bachmann's "$100,000 bar tab" barb on House Speaker Pelosi was $93,000 too strong 09/21/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 10:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Philippines forces make gains in city under siege by ISIS-linked militants

    MARAWI, Philippines — Philippine forces say they now control most of a southern city where militants linked to the Islamic State group launched a bloody siege nearly a week ago.

  2. Rays exhausted but happy after 15-inning win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Before the Rays eventually won Sunday's 6½-hour, 15-inning marathon against the Twins 8-6, they did plenty to lose it. And we need to get that out of the way first.

    The Rays’ Evan Longoria enjoys a laugh after scoring, barely, to tie it in the ninth on Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out single.
  3. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ABC's Indy 500 coverage is stellar again

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Takuma Sato left, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 as Helio Castroneves is a little late passing him. ABC’s coverage of the race is stellar throughout, with plenty of extras but no fake drama.
  4. Takuma Sato surprise winner of wreck-filled Indy 500

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Takuma Sato, a journeyman driver, became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he held off three-time champion Helio Castroneves in a 230-mph wheel-rubbing duel to the finish.

    Scott Dixon’s car goes over the top of Jay Howard, soaring so high that Helio Castroneves drove under it while it was airborne. Stunningly, there were no serious injuries.
  5. South Korea military: North Korea fires unidentified projectile


    SEOUL — North Korea launched a ballistic missile early today that flew 280 miles and landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone, the South Korean military and the Japanese government said.

    S. Korean President Moon Jae-in is assessing the launch.