Sen. Dennis DeConcini, D-Ariz., has postponed a trip to the Middle East after approval was withdrawn for his chief political fund-raiser to accompany him as a temporary staffer on the Senate payroll, a spokesman said Friday.
The Washington Post reported in Saturday's editions that Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., the new Appropriations Committee chairman, withdrew approval for Earl Katz to make the trip after receiving an inquiry about the arrangement.DeConcini had been scheduled to leave Saturday for a 12-day trip to nine Middle Eastern countries. Spokesman Robert W. Maynes said Katz had arranged the trip and it now would be postponed.
Katz, a retired Phoenix-area real estate investor who has been DeConcini's chief fund-raiser and Middle East adviser for years, was being placed on the Senate payroll for 21 days so he could arrange, and go on, the trip, Maynes said. Katz planned to repay his $115 salary to the government and pay as much of his expenses as he could, the spokesman said.
The Post reported that a spokeswoman for Byrd said that committee tradition did not permit members of a senator's personal staff to make trips on committee business without approval from the majority leader.
Katz was placed on the payroll temporarily so he could travel on military aircraft and get an official passport and visas, Maynes said.
"I'm not exactly sure why Sen. Byrd as the majority leader approved it in December and then as chairman of the Appropriations Committee unapproved it today," Maynes said.