High-ranking members of Congress were flown to a lush Caribbean resort this month for a three-day conference planned and paid for by several of the country's most powerful corporations - a violation of federal ethics rules, critics say.
Six members of the Congressional Black Caucus attended the 13th annual Caribbean Multi-National Business Conference in sun-drenched St. Maarten, including embattled Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel and New Jersey Rep. Donald Payne.
Three New York City officials attended, including Comptroller William Thompson and Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr., as well as Gov. Paterson, who was the keynote speaker at a luncheon on the second day of the gathering.
The politicians were seen by The Post during the Nov. 6-9 conference, walking among the palm trees on the breezy grounds of the sprawling, terra cotta Sonesta Maho Beach Resort and Casino.
Paterson's office said he'd paid for his own travel and lodging during his visit. But other legislators enjoyed free airfare, meals and hotel rooms covered by the trip's organizer - and paid for by donations from corporations such as IBM, AT&T, Verizon, Citigroup, Pfizer, Macy's and American Airlines, a Post investigation discovered.
Officials with those companies were....