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Whitmer's office reveals cost of flight to Florida and who paid for it

Posted at 5:43 PM, May 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 20:06:39-04

(WXYZ) — Governor Whitmer's office has revealed that she paid $855 for her seat on a private plane that took her to Florida when she flew down in March to help take care of her father.

The financial filing also revealed that the non-profit Michigan Transition 2019, d/b/a Executive Office Account, paid the $27,521.00 to charter the flight. The filing was made public on the Sunshine section of the Governor's 2019 transition website.

The 501c4 nonprofit organization started in the fall of 2018, ahead of her inauguration.

The trip to Florida has dogged the governor for weeks, with Republicans using it to blast Whitmer for not following her own rules.

Whitmer has said the trip was taken in accordance with public health guidelines, but some conservative groups are calling for an investigation.

“That's not allowed, you can't use a 501c4 for personal reasons,” said Tori Sachs, Executive Director with Michigan Rising Action.

According to its website, Michigan Rising Action is "focused on holding liberal groups and their special interest networks accountable and advancing conservative principles."

“We would like a full investigation from the IRS and we would like the Governor to clarify even before that investigation is over, what c4 purpose she had to use that plane for,” Sachs said.

The Governor says the trip to Florida was for a weekend to see her father, who is ill, and says she worked through the entirety of the trip.

“When you're the governor of Michigan, you're always on the clock," Governor Whitmer said. "But it doesn't mean your not also a daughter who shows up when a family member needs her.”

However specifics of the trip slowly trickled out, as the Governor's office was resistant to comment and her opponents began calling it a spring break trip.

“These issues are always, always hard when it comes to family,” said Greg Bowens, who works in public relations and in politics. "It probably would have been better in the beginning to disclose as much of this as possible, given the wolves have been at the doors for a long time.”

he Governor’s Chief of Staff JoAnne Huls took part of the blame, saying in the release “As Chief of Staff, I acknowledge we could have done a better job of answering questions about this trip with more clarity while also balancing the need to protect the Governor’s security, and for that I take responsibility.”