Only three US Senators have a net worth of over $100 million, Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Richard Blumenthal D-CT, and our own Mark Warner (D-VA). Of those three, Mark Warner is the richest, making him the most wealthy Senator and second only to Darrell Issa in net worth on Capitol Hill. But that hasn’t stopped our very wealthy Senator from billing the taxpayer for jaunts around the state. Last summer Mark Warner billed the taxpayers $8,500 for private planes to go to several different locations in Virginia including a Roanoke rail yard, a minor league ballpark, and a craft brewery. From USA Today,
Senators pay for their official duties from taxpayer-funded accounts set aside for them to cover costs of staff, travel, office supplies and the like. The rules allow them to use these accounts to pay for charter aircraft for official travel when commercial flights “are not such that reasonable schedules may be kept.” Senators decide which way to travel, and some eschewed private jets in favor of flying commercial or simply driving.
Warner’s 1,000-mile trip took him to the far reaches of western Virginia, which is pretty remote territory with no commercial airports. But a month earlier, Virginia’s other U.S. senator, Tim Kaine, made a swing to the same corner of the state by car; his travel cost taxpayers $691.
There’s quite a difference between $8,500 and $691. My favorite part of the article is the justification of Warner’s use of charter planes by his spokesman Kevin Hall,
“Sen. Warner is a road warrior, and he insists on a schedule that goes from dawn to dusk,” said Kevin Hall, Warner’s spokesman. “He spent 75 days on the road in Virginia last year, and that does not include events here in Northern Virginia.”
Hall said the road trip involved 25 public events across the state. “Using a plane to get from one end of the state to the other freed-up more than 12 hours of driving time, and this allowed us to schedule several additional events and create more opportunities to meet with our Virginia constituents.”
Now I understand, Warner spent all that money for US! He’s spending our money on private planes so he can spend more time with us, the folks paying for private planes. What a guy! He’s a road warrior except he’s not on the road, he’s in the air, billing the taxpayer.
Is there some reason why the richest Senator, worth over a quarter of a billion dollars, can’t spend his own money to fly around the state? Why is he one of the two dozen Senators who billed the taxpayers just under a million dollars last year for private planes? He could BUY his own plane but he’d rather bill us.
Gotta love rich, liberal, elitists who have no problem spending OUR money.