Every August, Capitol Hill empties out and Washington, D.C., slows down as Congress goes on August recess. Time away from the Capitol allows congressional members and their staff to return to their home states to talk with constituents, gain some outside-of-the-D.C.-bubble perspective, and perhaps spend time with family. Oh maybe it's a good time to do something more glam than talk to mere citizens?

A bi-partisan congressional delegation used the last week of August recess this year to bone up on U.S. military assets. They didn’t visit the Pentagon or Quantico, V.A., but made the long slog to a harsh and barren locale: Hawaii.

If you’re thinking it was a dream vacation on the taxpayer dime, you’re probably right.

Let’s just say they were far from “roughing it.” The flight: business class on a military jet. The accommodations: the five-star beachfront Sheraton Waikiki in Honolulu. The food: dinners at upscale steak houses and fusion restaurants.

Some work did get done apparently, as they toured various facilities and attended briefings on various military bases. Their spouses, who tagged along, were given separate programs, too, including a trip to the USS Arizona Memorial.

The schedules were far from packed though; they had a lot of “executive time” in the afternoons which as the Washington Post explains is code for pool-time:

The schedule thoughtfully included substantial “executive time” in the afternoons. This, as Loop Fans know, is often a thinly veiled euphemism for some fine lounging at the pool, or exploring beautiful Hawaii.

The huge delegation, which, according to a  included several members of the House Armed Services Committee, was led by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) and included GOP Reps. Joe Wilson (S.C.), Vicky Hartzler (Mo.), Richard Nugent (Fla.), Paul Cook (Calif.), Robert Latta (Ohio), Steven Palazzo (Miss.), Randy Hultgren (Ill.) and Del. Aumua Mata Coleman Radewagen (American Samoa) and Democrat Joe Courtney (Conn.). Two other Democrats, Reps. Pete Aguilar (Calif.) and Brenda Lawrence (Mich.), were to fly out via commercial airlines.

If the above look a little sun-kissed and mellowed, we know why.

Congressional delegations like these are commonplace, perhaps considered one of the perks of being a public servant and making a mere $174,000 as a Congressman. 

They aren’t the only ones who had a nice summer.  While this delegation was in Hawaii, President Obama and his family chose the other coast and headed to Martha’s Vineyard – as they do every year. It must be noted that the Obamas pick up the tab for renting accommodations, so we only have to pay for security and transportation (reimbursement schedules for vacation travel on Air Force One make it a cheap flight for the First Family on holiday). Golfing with former President Bill Clinton as well as former NBA stars Alonzo Mourning and Ray Allen, President Obama got much-needed R&R and did some hob-knobbing with celebrities and big donors.

As the Washington Free Beacon explains, they needed the space:

President Obama and his family are currently residing in a $22.5 million vacation home complete with six bedrooms, five bathrooms, and two half-bathrooms on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

The Huffington Post reported that the nearly 7000-square-foot Chilmark mansion, positioned on nine-and-a-half-acres, houses a sunken living room with double-height windowed walls that allow the first family a view of the heated infinity pool.

It also features an oversized wood-burning fireplace, though temperatures on the island currently reach up to 80 degrees.

We’ve reported stories of egregious behavior, waste, fraud, and abuse by federal workers such as this Commerce executive who fudged her time sheets and hoarded government computers for her kids to watch porn. The common thread is a noxious attitude that they have full power over the public resources with no expectation of good stewardship. Unfortunately, that view is not limited to just federal workers.