DENVER — The cost of Governor Jared Polis’ first international trade trip to India and Nepal has been revealed after the FOX31 Problem Solvers filed a public information request with the state of Colorado. Polis traveled to the region November 4-8.
According to the Office of Economic Development and International Trade, the trip included members of the Colorado business community, state employees, and the governor’s office.
Among the businesses traveling with the governor were Dish Network, Akin Gump, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado State University, Colorado Energy Office, Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, Helping Hands Consulting, Xcel Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, The Broe Group, Innop, and Solid Power.
Each delegate paid $3,500 to attend the trip. The Problem Solvers asked officials for the total cost of the trip including receipts.
The Office of Economic Development confirmed the total cost to taxpayers as $19,620.
They provided receipts for flights and hotels, including how much members of the delegation paid to stay at the Taj Mahal Tower in Mumbai.
Governor Polis traveled via United Airlines in Economy Class for the $3,610 round trip. Taxpayers also paid for the governor’s aide to attend the trip.
However the Problem Solvers did not find any hotel, transportation, or food receipts by the governor during the trade mission to India and Nepal.
After weeks of back and forth with the governor’s office, officials confirmed Polis paid for part of the trip on his own, including hotel rooms.
According to Polis’ officials, the governor had an issue with the state credit card and elected to use his own credit card to pay for his aide and his family’s hotel rooms. Polis was accompanied by his father and son on the trip.
Polis is not expected to ask for a reimbursement. A spokeswoman for the governor’s office said the governor is electing to “save taxpayers money.” It is perfectly legal for elected officials to pay for trips on their own.
Polis has an estimated net worth of between $150 million and $300 million dollars.
The FOX31 Problem Solvers estimated the cost for hotels at around $2,200 based on average rates for hotels in Mumbai, Bangalore, and Kathmandu.
When asked about whether he spent any of his own money Tuesday, Polis said “I probably did I mean if I did anything personally I would have paid for it and the state employees are paid for by the state and if I bought a gift for anybody it would have been on my own credit card,” Polis said.
Polis considered his first trade mission a success and well worth the taxpayer investment.
“It is my intent to go on 1-2 a year and I want to make them as high impact as possible,” Polis said.
“India is the second most populated country in the world – enormous market for Made in Colorado products,” Polis added.