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When you travel, you probably pay the bill yourself.
If you’re a sports fan, and you want to watch Kentucky, or whatever your favorite team might be, play in the SEC or NCAA tournaments, you probably buy your own airline ticket to get there.
If these statements apply to you, then you aren’t Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, because the governor has made it all too clear that the rules don’t apply to him.
For the second time (that we know of) in less than a year, Beshear has used a state-owned jet to fly to watch some basketball games.
According to a report in the Lexington Herald-Leader, Beshear and his wife, Jane, used a state plane to go to New Orleans last week to take in the Southeastern Conference basketball tournament. Following the tournament, Jane also reportedly used the plane to visit friends in Florida while in the area.
Now, with information coming out about the trip, which was deemed as “non-governmental,” the Kentucky Democratic Party is paying the bill for the travel because Beshear is said to have participated in some Democratic party activities while on the trip.
This isn’t the first time Beshear has used a state plane to go see some basketball. Last year, when the Kentucky Wildcats were playing in the NCAA Final Four in Houston, Beshear made that trip in a state plane, too. Then, as with this trip, the Democratic Party paid the bill, covering the $6,105 expense.
This editorial is not based on political stances, it is based on the issue of fairness and following the rules. That’s why we feel comments from Kentucky Republican Party Chairman Steve Robertson speak volumes, and ask some very good questions.
“First off, it would continue to be my hope that the governor and Kentucky Democratic Party would realize that state property was not designed for personal and political purposes,” Robertson said in the Herald-Leader. “Can’t this governor ride coach in a commercial plane?”
Those are great questions. Perhaps Beshear feels that the cutting of expenses he preaches about to the media don’t include him and his personal and/or political travels. Although the trip was paid for by the Democratic Party, that’s still no excuse for Beshear’s abuse of the rules. Most people who donated to the Democratic Party probably didn’t do so to fly an elected official and his family, and their security detail, around the country to watch basketball games or to visit family members.
It’s bad enough that Beshear has violated a state rule, but it’s even worse that it’s one he put in place himself. In 2008, Beshear implemented rules pertaining to state aircraft for personal and political reasons because of problems from the former administration of Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher.
As for the Democratic Party, if it wants to continue to pay the bills for Beshear’s travels, let it buy its own plane, and send him off on it. If not, Beshear needs to become a true Kentuckian, one of the real people of the commonwealth, and pay for his own travel on his own dime.