Jonathan Allen reports for Bloomberg, Jan. 29, 2015, that during her 8 years as a U.S. senator (D-NY), Hillary Clinton took more than 200 privately chartered flights at taxpayers’ expense, to the tune of $225,756.
More troubling is the fact that for some of those private plane trips, she used the jets of corporations and major campaign donors. So much for Hillary being for the poor and the little people.
Clinton, 67, the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, reported the travel in official filings with the Senate. While there is no evidence Hillary’s Senate trips, which ranged in cost from less than $200 to upwards of $3,000 per flight, ran afoul of Senate rules, some senators don’t charter private flights at all. Others, like Hillary, do. Their privately chartered flights in just one year — 2013 — cost taxpayers $1 million, according to a report in USA Today.
The practice became a political issue last year for Democratic Senate candidates, including Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu, who spent $47,000 on charter flights in 2013, and Virginia’s Mark Warner, who spent $8,500 on a tour around his state that year. Landrieu lost, while Warner narrowly won.
In Clinton’s case, her private air travel included jets owned by a handful of private companies and investment groups, including Coca-Cola, Citigroup, Abbott Laboratories, InfoUSA (now known as InfoGroup Inc.), Avenue Capital Group LLC, and Saban Capital Group. Some of those private companies are major donors to Hillary and Bill Clinton which, of course, should raise conflict-of-interest questions:
1. Saban Capital Group was founded by longtime Clinton campaign financier Haim Saban, who, along with his wife and their family foundation, contributed between $10 million and $25 million to the Clinton Foundation through 2013. Saban told Bloomberg Television he will spend “as much as needed” to help elect Hillary president in 2016.
2. Avenue Capital Group: On April 8, 2006, when Hillary criticized President George W. Bush’s use of the powers of the presidency at a women’s leadership forum in Providence, Rhode Island, she flew round trip on Avenue Capital Group’s plane at a cost of $408, which was billed to taxpayers. The firm, run by Clinton campaign benefactor Marc Lasry, later hired Hillary’s daughter, Chelsea, who worked there until 2013.
3. InfoUSA: On Dec. 30, 2005, Hillary flew from White Plains, New York, to Washington to pick up top aide Huma Abedin on the way to Charleston, South Carolina. They rode aboard InfoUSA’s jet, which company founder Vinod Gupta, a close family friend, often used to transport and entertain the Clintons and other recognizable figures, according to court filings. Hillary Clinton billed the Senate for $858 to fly on his company’s plane. Bill Clinton made more than $3 million as an adviser to InfoUSA after leaving the White House in January 2001 and also was given options on 100,000 shares of stock, which were never exercised. In 2010, Gupta paid a $7.4 million settlement after the Securities and Exchange Commission charged him with misappropriating company funds.
4. Aircraft Services Group Inc.: The bulk of Senator Hillary’s privately chartered flights were chartered through Aircraft Services Group Inc., which boasts two Gulstream IV jets and a 16-seat Embraer Legacy among its managed fleet. The president and chief executive officer of Aircraft Services Group,George Reenstra, donated $500 apiece to Clinton’s Senate and presidential campaigns in 2006 and 2007, according to Federal Election Commission records.
An unnamed aide to Mitt Romney — who was criticized by the media for being an out-of-touch rich man during the 2012 presidential campaign — told multiple news outlets this week that Hillary would have a hard time portraying Romney as out of touch in a 2016 campaign when she owns multimillion dollar houses and seldom flies commercial.
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Dr. Eowyn’s post first appeared at Fellowship of the Minds.