June 2, 2021
June 2, 2021
Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s latest scheme to pay for the private charter plane she took to Florida is raising new questions about the legality of the payments. The Detroit News reports:
The legality of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s campaign paying $27,521 to charter a plane to take her and a security detail to Florida will likely hinge on whether the cost was “ordinary and necessary” in her job as the state’s top officeholder, according to experts.
Whitmer changed course Thursday after administration officials initially argued that a nonprofit social welfare group created to handle certain expenses for the governor paid her flight expenses. When the plane’s corporate owner said it couldn’t accept the nonprofit’s payment under federal rules, a legal counsel for Whitmer’s campaign said the candidate committee would instead pay for the flight costs.
The change in Governor Whitmer’s story comes after Michigan Rising Action filed a complaint with the IRS over the misuse of nonprofit 501(c)(4) funds to pay for personal travel expenses. The Detroit News reported:
The change in source for the flight payment comes after the conservative group Michigan Rising acting filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service over the use of Michigan Transition 2019.
“This new version of the story was clearly made by Whitmer’s inner circle, who determined that a campaign finance violation judged by her political ally, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, was preferable to multiple federal investigations,” said Eric Ventimiglia, executive director of Michigan Rising Action. Ventimiglia continued, “These are not the actions of an ethical public official – it’s obvious that Whitmer never intended to pay for this trip, and is only now trying to pay for it because she got caught.”
Whitmer’s current attempt to move past her private plane scandal is just the latest in a series of missteps by her and other administration officials. Last weekend, Whitmer was spotted in an East Lansing bar among a group of 13 individuals, more than double the then-limit of six people at a table. In April, Michigan’s COO in charge of vaccine rollout was caught vacationing in Florida and a week later it was revealed that the Director of Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services was vacationing in Gulf Shores, Ala. – all in defiance of the Governor’s COVID travel warnings. And a year ago last week, Gov. Whitmer’s husband attempted to pull rank and have their boat placed in the water.