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MUST READ: MS Today Investigation Reveals Tate Reeves Spent $31,000 On Taxpayer-Funded Campaign Travel

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MUST READ: MS Today Investigation Reveals Tate Reeves Spent $31,000 On Taxpayer-Funded Campaign Travel

A new investigation from Mississippi Today reveals that Gov. Tate Reeves took at least $31,000 in taxpayer-funded campaign travel using Mississippi’s state plane.

Reeves, who is allowed to use the state plane as governor to “conduct business on behalf of Mississippi or to benefit the state” used the plane repeatedly to “attend partisan gatherings hosted by groups that have donated more than $1 million to Reeves’ campaigns” and planned his travel to optimize “overlapping state business with campaign fundraising efforts.”

The new findings come after Reeves, during his time as lieutenant governor, raised questions about the very same sorts of taxpayer-funded trips, asking: “What we are now trying to determine is, has that flexibility been good for the taxpayers or has it been not so good for the taxpayers?”

Not only has Reeves’ conduct proven that this “flexibility” has been “not so good for the taxpayers,” but this report comes just days after a Daily Beast analysis found that Reeves also funneled millions of taxpayer dollars into renovations at Mississippi’s governor’s mansion — “including tens of thousands on lemon trees and a meditation garden.”

“While Mississippi families are driving to get care because their local hospitals are closed, Tate Reeves has been flying a taxpayer-funded plane across the country to political events,” said DGA spokesperson Izzi Levy. “Mississippians need affordable health care and safe drinking water, not a globetrotting governor who keeps trying to stick them with the bill for his corrupt dealings and lavish lifestyle.”

Read more about Tate Reeves’ taxpayer funded trips:

  • Gov. Tate Reeves, in his first term as governor, used at least $31,000 in taxpayer funds to take trips on Mississippi’s state airplane to political events that don’t appear to directly involve state business, according to a review of flight records and the governor’s social media posts.
  • The trips in question range from taking the plane to attend partisan gatherings hosted by groups that have donated more than $1 million to Reeves’ campaigns to overlapping state business with campaign fundraising efforts.
  • Before he was elected governor, Reeves was among those who raised questions about expensive taxpayer-funded trips. In a 2013 hearing, when Reeves was lieutenant governor and chairman of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, he highlighted questionable state plane trips to publicly question a policy at the time that gave state agency heads more flexibility in how tax dollars were spent.
  • Several trips, most of which have not previously been reported, raise questions about how the governor has used the taxpayer-owned plane, the rules surrounding the usage of the plane, and whether the governor used the aircraft for political purposes.
  • In August 2022, Reeves used the state plane to travel to the Conservative Political Action Conference, an openly partisan organization that lobbies for conservative causes.
  • The governor appears to have used the plane three separate times on May 25, 2021; Aug. 10, 2021; and May 23, 2022; to attend Republican Governors Association events around the country, costing taxpayers a total of $13,245.
  • His August 2021 trip occurred when hospitals around the state were struggling with an influx of COVID-19 cases. Lee McCall, a Neshoba County hospital administrator, publicly pleaded for the governor’s help to deal with the surge in cases.
  • Reeves used the airplane on the public’s dime on Feb. 14, 2022, and Oct. 4, 2022, to attend events for the Susan B. Anthony List, a nonprofit organization that combines “politics with policy” by working to advance pro-life laws through “direct lobbying and grassroots campaigns.”
  • The governor also used the plane on Oct. 4, 2022, to travel to another SBA List event in Dallas for a “speaking engagement,” which cost taxpayers $3,415. The governor, again, touted the trip on social media.
  • SBA’s PAC donated $2,500 to the governor’s campaign on Oct. 13, 2022, and the organization has endorsed his bid for reelection. The Mississippi Republican Party has publicly touted that endorsement.
  • The first-term governor also appears to have used the state plane at least 10 times to mix fundraising events with official state business, according to a review of social media posts, plane records and campaign finance reports.