Landrieu To Pay Back Taxpayers For Campaign Charter Flight
Senator Mary Landrieu's office says the billing of a charter flight the Senator made to a campaign stop was a clerical error and not an attempt to saddle the taxpayers with the cost of the flight. The bill for $3200.00 was, according to a Landrieu spokesperson, mistakenly billed to Landrieu's Senate office instead of her campaign.
This "billing error" was "discovered" by Landrieu's office after a story that was originally published in USA TODAY brought the matter to light. The story allegedly documented charter flights by government officials that were billed to the taxpayer when the trips were not for official business. According to a report published in the USA TODAY On Politics site, Landrieu reportedly had racked up $47,000.00 in charter flights.
When questioned about the charter flights and in particular a flight to appear at a campaign function a spokesperson for Senator Landrieu's office told CNN,
Landrieu’s campaign spokesman, Fabien Levy, said in a statement that the charter company mistakenly billed Landrieu’s Senate office instead of her re-election campaign. Levy said the campaign noticed the error a few weeks ago and asked the company to refund the Senate office and bill the campaign, which the company did. Levy said Landrieu’s re-election campaign paid for the flight August 4, almost nine months after the November 8 trip.
“We take our finances very seriously and are glad we caught the vendor’s mistake and were able to rectify the matter as soon as possible,” Levy said.
The campaign didn’t notice the mistake until July 29 … Levy told CNN that media scrutiny of Senate office expense reports spurred the campaign to review its travel records.
According to the Washington Times, Landrieu violated Federal Law by using taxpayer money to pay for a charter flight to attend a November 8th 2013 fundraising event in Lake Charles. The charter flight was round trip from New Orleans to Lake Charles. Landrieu's office maintains the expenditure was simply an error in the billing process.
That billing error was not discovered until media scrutiny began to swirl about the misuse of charter flights by government officials. Landrieu's office reportedly "discovered" the mistake 8 months later on July 29, 2014. That error was rectified when the Landrieu campaign reimbursed the taxpayers on August 4th of 2014 with a $3200.00 check.