The 49th Governor of the State of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, had to know this was coming. You can’t try to sneak away on a chartered jet during a pandemic that you are crying wolf about and expect no one to notice.
As a quick refresher about the Governors’ exploits, let’s revisit an article I wrote earlier this spring that went over Whitmer’s love of using private jets. Gretchen Whitmer Likes Private Jets, Even Flew on One to Biden Inauguration. From that article…
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s transition fund paid for a private jet she took to attend President Biden’s inauguration in January, according to a new report.
Whitmer is already facing scrutiny for using the transition to pay for the vast majority of her trip to Florida – a trip she initially lied about taking.
Michigan journalist Charlie LeDuff reported during the Friday episode of his radio show, No BS Newshour, that the Michigan Transition 2019 fund also used nearly $21,000 – labeled as a “gift” by the fund – to charter a plane for the governor to attend Biden’s inauguration with her family in Washington, DC.
LeDuff noted that the Michigan Transition 2019 filings page was “dark for years” until the reports of Whitmer’s trip to the Sunshine State against her own travel advisories.
It is unclear if the plane Whitmer reportedly chartered in January is the same as the plane she chartered through Michigan air company AirEagle, LLC to fly to visit her father in Florida.
Whitmer’s office did not immediately return Fox News’ request for comment on LeDuff’s report.
Now the reason the governor said she had to take a 4-day trip to Florida was to visit her Dad, who was ill back in March. Understandable. She took a “private jet” for security reason, being she was so concerned with “security” that she did not notify Florida State Police that she would be in the state, which normally is the protocol to ask for more protection. Even if she felt her team was fine protecting her, it is a courtesy to let other officials know, in case any incident arises.
I’m sure there was no quid pro quo or arm twisting at all so that the Governor could do her best Ric Flair impersonation using a private jet to get around mingling with the unwashed masses.
Now comes word that a group by the name of Michigan Rising Action has filed a complaint with the Michigan Bureau of Elections for a violation of campaign finance laws. In the complaint just filed today, it says this.
Michigan Rising Action referred the attached campaign finance complaint to the Secretary of State, detailing that Governor Whitmer’s personal travel on a private charter flight paid for by her campaign is a direct violation of Michigan Campaign Finance law, and should be subject to all applicable fines and penalties.
“Governor Whitmer has tried to run from her secret flight to Florida for months, and her repeated attempts to cover-up her hypocrisy have only resulted in more scandal and legal trouble,” said Eric Ventimiglia, executive director for Michigan Rising Action. Ventimiglia continued, “Whitmer’s latest attempt to pass this personal trip off as a campaign expense is a clear violation of Michigan’s campaign finance laws, and she must be held accountable once and for all for her repeated breach of ethics and the law.”
Whitmer has faced significant criticism over her secret trip to Florida, which she took at a time she advised Michiganders not to travel, and amidst Michigan lockdowns and a spike in Michigan COVID cases.
Initially, Whitmer refused to give details on the trip, attempting to keep the flight under wraps from the public. The AP reported:
“Whitmer has repeatedly refused to give details about the trip, including when and where she went, how she got there and how she paid for it, citing security reasons. She has only said that taxpayer money was not used to pay for it, that it lasted ‘two full days or less’ and that she went more than a month before April 19, when news of the trip leaked.”
Once it became apparent that this story would not go away, Whitmer tried to pass the buck, announcing that this personal flight was at the expense of a nonprofit. Unfortunately for Whitmer, this is a violation of the rules surrounding nonprofit expenditures for personal use, which is why Michigan Rising Action promptly filed an IRS complaint against Governor Whitmer for this violation. Subsequently, Whitmer announced her intention to shift the expense to her campaign, which is the source of today’s official complaint.
Michigan Rising Action’s complaint alleges two violations of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act: Section 21a – by illegally using candidate committee funds to finance a candidate’s personal expenses in the guise of an “incidental expense”, and Section 33 – by knowingly filing an inaccurate statement or report. Potential penalties include the prohibition of Gretchen Whitmer assuming public office and from receiving compensation from public funds, in addition to a requirement that Gretchen Whitmer reimburse the unauthorized expense.
Now, I’m not a legal scholar and I’m not even going to pretend to be one here or on my show on WAAM 1600 A.M. & 92.7 F.M. in Ann Arbor. Yet this complaint filed by Ventimiglia and Michigan Rising Action makes sense. How can it be above board for any elected official to be able to leverage this type of pull and it is all on the up-and-up? If you happen to be a legal scholar please let me know what you think about this at [email protected], being I can’t find a legitimate reason for this not to be some sort of violation. If it isn’t then it will be free for all for elected officials to leverage their office for personal favors.
This also should be a big issue going into next year’s re-election campaign for Whitmer but thankfully, the folks at Michigan Rising Action are not waiting for next year to take action. They are doing the watchdog work right now and it is just what is needed.
Let’s make Michigan less corrupt for a change.