Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Frequent Flier of Florida

From Furyan at the FPC:

Jeff Kottkamp, our Lt Governor, billed taxpayers $425,000 for 365 flights on state planes during his first two years in office, according to the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel. Flight Records show that Two-thirds of the flights involved getting Kottkamp to and from his $1.4 million house he and his wife own in Fort Myers. The records also show state planes flew empty one-way 70 times to pick him up or drop him off. The problem is Florida law previously barred public officials from using state airplanes for commuting. Lawmakers however, squeezed the language in under the radar into a massive budget bill back in July to allow it to happen. State rules require payment, however, for travel by a state official’s family. Also, Kottkamp’s wife and son flew for free on about 12 trips. Those flights cost taxpayers $12,974, which only after the Sun Sentinel inquired about 27 flights made by Kottkamp’s wife and by his young son, he said he would reimburse the state.

State Bureau of Aircraft Operations Mike McClure claim that Kottkamp was not charged due to a “billing error” and they were not found until last summer. On June eighteenth a memo was sent to State executives reminding them that family must pay for flights. According to the Palm Beach Post, “Six days after the memo went out, Kottkamp took his wife and son on a state plane from Fort Myers to Miami and made a return trip two days later. State records show they were not charged for the flights, and his family has not boarded state planes since.”

Tell me once again why the Republicans call themselves the Party of Fiscal and Personal Responsibility?

By the way, what is it that the Lieutenant Governor of Florida does, exactly, that needs him to fly all over the state? Are there that many Wal-Mart openings to go to?