Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Records show that since 1999, taxpayers have paid more than $187,000 for U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe to make at least 20 trips to Africa.

The Oklahoman's Washington bureau reviewed expense filings made through the Senate's Armed Services Committee by the Republican senator and his staff, but some expenses couldn't be determined.

For example, some of the trips -- which Inhofe has used religious terms to describe -- came on military planes, and the military does not disclose how much it costs to fly congressional members on trips.

Inhofe's trips have covered much of Africa, although he has spent most of his time in Uganda and Ethiopia. His most recent trip to the continent came earlier this month, when Inhofe and three
U.S. House members went to both those countries to discuss AIDS with their leaders.

He says his focus on the trips are on humanitarian, national security and economic issues, although some trips also have involved activities related to a religious organization that puts on the National Prayer Breakfast.