September 10, 2019

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Kentucky, Latest News

Bevin In The Hot Seat For Unexplained Out-Of-State Trips On State-Owned Plane

A new report from the Courier-Journal details Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s out-of-state trips on a state-owned plane. Bevin refused to disclose the reason for many of these trips.

Bevin has a long history of self-dealing. He faces questions about a mansion he purchased at below-market value and gave one of his buddies a taxpayer-funded raise worth $215,000.

Now Bevin was caught red-handed using the state-owned plane and can’t explain why he needs to jet-set across America.

Here’s our statement on the news below:

“Matt Bevin is flagrantly disrespecting taxpayers by using the state’s plane as his own personal play toy,” said DGA Communications Director David Turner. “This new report adds to Bevin’s insults of Kentuckians that have made him the country’s most unpopular governor. If Matt Bevin has nothing to hide, he should explain these trips.”

Read the full report about Bevin’s taxpayer-funded jet-setting:

Courier-Journal: Gov. Matt Bevin won’t disclose purpose of out-of-state trips on state-owned plane

Shortly after Gov. Matt Bevin celebrated a jobs announcement in Hazard last week, the state-owned jet frequently used to transport the governor took off from the nearby London-Corbin Airport and landed in Atlanta.

More than four hours later, the jet departed Atlanta and landed back at the Capital City Airport in Frankfort just before 10 p.m.

Asked about the purpose of that trip to Atlanta — in addition to half a dozen other out-of-state trips where the plane was used this summer —  spokespersons for the governor’s office and Bevin’s campaign declined to comment.

According to flight-tracking records from FlightAware, the Beechcraft King Air jet owned by the Kentucky State Police has landed in nine different states from June through the Atlanta trip on Wednesday — including a trip to the Alabama coast and Miami a week earlier.

Governors of Kentucky have not been legally required to provide their daily schedule since a Kentucky Court of Appeals ruling in 1995 found that such a schedule was a “preliminary” document subject to change and therefore exempt from disclosure under the Kentucky Open Records Act.

The use of state-owned aircraft for purposes unrelated to a governor’s official duties —such as attending political campaign events like fundraisers — is also not legally prohibited, though Bevin and former Gov. Steve Beshear typically had their campaign or state party organization reimburse the state for the costs of such flights in the past.

The state police have not yet returned an open records request filed by The Courier Journal for the governor’s flight records since June and any reimbursements made for those flights.

However, state police records obtained by The Courier Journal for the governor’s flight to West Virginia on July 24 show it had a total cost of $1,757, while his flights to Kenosha, Wisconsin, Chicago and back to Kentucky on July 31 cost $2,775. These flights were billed at $925 per hour.

If Bevin’s campaign reimburses the state for any of the governor’s flights this summer, it would show up in the campaign’s report filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance in October. Bevin is facing Democrat Andy Beshear, the state’s attorney general, in the November election.

A spokesman for the Republican Party of Kentucky did not return an emailed question asking if the party has reimbursed the state for any of the flights this summer or if it plans to do so.

Bevin’s flight to West Virginia — which included as passengers state Senate President Robert Stivers and Sen. Ralph Alvarado, the governor’s running mate — was presumably to attend a fundraiser for the reelection campaign of President Donald Trump, where Bevin tweeted a photo of himself with the president.

The purpose of the governor’s trip to Wisconsin and Chicago is not known. That afternoon, the official Facebook account of the governor posted a video of Bevin expressing support for the former Blackjewel coal miners protesting in Harlan County.

While Bevin’s office and campaign have declined to explain the purpose of the Aug. 28 flights to Alabama and Miami — or even if the governor was on the plane — the Facebook page of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Authority posted a photo of Bevin speaking at its conference that morning. Bevin is the chairman of the authority, a nonprofit assisting the man-made waterway connecting a route from Kentucky to the Gulf of Mexico.