Documents reveal state agencies paid $400,000 for governor’s travel

Missouri state agencies paid nearly $400,000 to finance airplane flights for Missouri’s governor during his first two years as governor.

Data provided by the Office of Administration documents that Gov. Jay Nixon was flying on taxpayer financed airplane trips an average of one out of every three days in 2009 and 2010.

The data is contained in a spreadsheet requested by House committees working on the administration’s budget for the next fiscal year.

Although the legislature provides the governor with funds to cover his office expenses, the information provided to legislators lists more than 250 flights in which other agencies were billed for trips by Nixon, his wife, top staff aides and his personal security.

Agencies funding the governor’s airplane travel expenses, according to the administration document, include the departments of Health, Labor, Economic Development, Natural Resources, Insurance and Public Safety.

The purpose for several of the trips are listed as “press conference” or just “meeting.”

The last time that the governor’s own office budget is identifying as paying one of Nixon’s flights was a trip Jan. 31, 2009.

The governor’s communications director, Christy Bertelson, said she did not have specific information as to why Nixon was not financing his personal trips from his own office budget. She said the office could not fully comment on the administration document until Wednesday.

In the House, both Republicans and leaders of Nixon’s own party have endorsed a budget plan that would prohibit the governor from using funds from other departments to cover his personal travel expenses in the future.

– Missouri Digital News