Haley Barbour Takes Heat for Posh Jet Trips

State shells out as governor 'mixes business with pleasure'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 27, 2010 7:56 AM CST
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, speaks at an election night gathering, Nov. 2, 2010.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – Haley Barbour jets around on a classy Mississippi state jet—but not all the governor’s trips look like state business, Politico finds. He also uses the 12-seater Cessna, funded largely by tax dollars, to attend fundraisers for other Republicans, to appear on Meet the Press and Face the Nation (other state officials opt to appear via satellite uplink), and for what looks like leisure: He’s taken it to the Cotton Bowl and a Don King-promoted boxing match.

Over the past three years, Mississippi has paid $500,000 for Barbour’s flights, and critics are crying foul, saying Barbour continues to live his former high-on-the-hog lobbyist lifestyle while at the same time making across-the-board state budget cuts. “All he has to do is meet with one congressman or senator for five minutes, and he can say that he's on official business,” complains a state representative who introduced a bill to sell the Cessna. But a Barbour spokesman says the travel is necessary to Mississippi. “Gov. Barbour is an effective marketing tool in a state that really needs it."

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