Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gives an update on COVID-19 | Gov. Whitmer office photo
Michigan Transition 2019, a political nonprofit for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s inauguration, paid for her March private flight to Florida, according to Whitmer Chief of Staff JoAnne Huls.
Whitmer has said she was visiting her ill father from March 12 to 15. Whitmer personally paid $855 for her seat and the flight cost $27,521, according to a disclosure from the group. Huls said Whitmer took a private flight “due to ongoing security and public health concerns.”
Michigan Transition 2019 is a 501(c)(4) organization. Huls said the group “defrays the cost of the Governor’s travel when it’s consistent with the account’s purposes and not covered by taxpayers.”
Republicans have repeatedly criticized the governor’s trip during the pandemic and the lack of transparency around it.
⏱WHITMER WATCH⏱ It’s been 64 days and @GovWhitmer still hasn't told us how she paid for her private plane to Florida.
— Michigan GOP (@MIGOP) May 14, 2021
Whitmer did not disclose the trip until media reports came out last month about it. She told the Associated Press she does not discuss travel plans because of the “incredible amount” of death threats she receives. In October, state and federal law enforcement disclosed a plot of a dozen men from a self-described militia to allegedly kidnap and kill her over her COVID-19 restrictions.
Huls acknowledged missteps in handling the trip’s disclosure in a memo to senior staff obtained by the AP.
“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,” she wrote.
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