Expensive trip could be political trouble for Congressman Bill Owens

A non profit, independent news agency is reporting Democrat Congressman Bill Owens may have violated ethics rules when he took a trip in late 2010 to Taiwan.

ProPublica reports that although the Congressman filed a travel disclosure with the House Ethics Committee that identifies the trip's sponsor as the Culture University of Taiwan, the paper trail it uncovered shows that lobbyists invited Owens on the trip and spent many months organizing it.

The political news website Politico reports the hotel rooms for Congressman Owens and his wife averaged $520 per night. First- and business-class flights to and from Taipei cost more than $19,000 for the couple.

Owens' political challenger Republican Matt Doheny was recently the top story on the gossip website Gawker. Doheny denied the photos on the website showed anything inappropriate, although they appeared with a headline, "Makeout Mystery."

"Congressman Owens filed all the necessary paperwork with the House Ethics Committee and conducted the trip with their approval. The trip was planned through significant communication with the embassy of Taiwan, and we believe it was conducted within full compliance of House rules," said Sean Magers, Communications Director for Owens.