Questionable State Plane Spending
Three of the state’s top elected officials have racked up $51,000 in questionable travel expenses.
Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, Attorney General Bill McCollum and Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp are under fire for their use of state planes. Sink has flown family members on the state planes, and McCollum has ordered empty planes from Tallahassee to pick him up near Orlando for state business, according to the Capitol News Service.
No one has used the state planes this week. Both planes are undergoing maintenance in Tallahassee.
It’s a Tuesday in Tallahassee and three of the state’s top elected officials aren’t at the capitol. The Attorney General, the Chief Financial Officer and the Governor are all in South Florida raising campaign money.
The only elected officials in the capitol Tuesday were the ones not running for office.
Their absence raises questions about the use of state planes. CFO Alex Sink has asked her office to review her travel expenses. She also reimbursed the state for flying family members. Republican Party contributor Jose Lorenzo filed an ethics complaint against Sink, according to the news service.
“Some of the stops had no state work purpose whatsoever," Lorenzo said. "It really concerned me.”
Sink has called for all state plane use to be listed on the Internet. No one from Sink’s office would talk on camera about her travel expenses.
Attorney General Bill McCollum is also catching heat for his travel. Spokeswoman Sandi Copes says money McCollum spent ordering empty planes to pick him up near Orlando is justified.
“It’s tough to travel throughout Florida," Copes said. "There are only a few flights in and out of Tallahassee, so that’s why he makes sure when he needs the state plane he uses it effectively, and again, he only uses the state plane for official state work.”
Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp was the first to catch heat over his use of the planes. Kottkamp cut the state a $10,000 reimbursement check to make amends.
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