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Aspin’s Venice Trip Cost $30,000

<i> Reuters</i>

Defense Secretary Les Aspin’s five-day vacation in Venice during an official trip to Italy in May cost U.S. taxpayers more than $30,000, Pentagon records released Monday indicate.

The expense vouchers, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, showed costs of at least $29,575 for bodyguards, 22 crew members of Aspin’s government jet, communication specialists and other staff while Aspin stayed at a five-star hotel.

That includes more than $1,000 spent by security agents on water taxis in Venice, where Aspin stayed May 26-30 at the ritzy Danieli Hotel. It does not include some special transportation costs for security personnel.

The secretary paid his personal expenses in Venice and has maintained that the staff costs were a legitimate government expense since he must always be accompanied by bodyguards, a doctor and radio specialists wherever he goes.

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