Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, recently embroiled in controversy after praising a white supremacist organization, now faces another scandal. Politico reports that Barbour, a rumored presidential candidate, has used the state plane of Mississippi for personal trips, racking up a huge bill that has been dumped on the tax payers of Mississippi — the poorest state in the union. A Politico analysis found:
Much of the time, he has used the plane to go to fundraisers for himself and other Republican candidates and committees, to football games and to at least one boxing match — travel that has a less obvious connection to what Barbour, a former top lobbyist in Washington, has cast as his lobbying on behalf of his state. … The flight logs obtained by POLITICO indicate that Mississippi has spent more than $500,000 over the past three years on Barbour’s air travel. That total does not include security and other logistical costs associated with his trips. […]
Barbour has reimbursed the state for a handful of flights, but he has more often scheduled obscure official business to coincide with the business of politics, according to the manifest and logs.
Prior to becoming Governor of Mississippi, Barbour was a lobbyist in Washington D.C. and no doubt got used to the lavish lifestyle. He even “brush[ed] off suggestions from Mississippi Democrats that he give up” his Citation jet “in favor of a more modest propeller plane for his travel.” But the massive bill he has racked up by using the state’s plane as his own personal private jet also stand in direct opposition to his public persona.
During his many appearances on national television, Barbour has positioned himself as a deficit hawk. He attacked the stimulus bill and has insisted that the president’s proposed tax cuts for lower and middle class families be paid for. Yet Barbour in reality is a deficit fraud. As the Wonk Room’s Pat Garafolo has pointed out, after attacking the stimulus and claiming Mississippi would refuse the money, Barbour took advantage of stimulus funded bonds. While he has insisted that tax cuts for the lower and middle class be paid for, Barbour has given tax cuts for the rich a pass.