Gov. Gretchen Whitmer campaigned on transparency, but for two months, she’s hidden details of a Florida trip that might have violated both Federal Aviation Administration and Internal Revenue Service rules.
An IRS complaint filed Wednesday alleges Whitmer illegally used a nonprofit to fund a personal flight.
In 2013 as Senate minority leader, Whitmer attacked Republican Gov. Rick Snyder for operating in a “cloud of secrecy.” Among her allegations against Snyder was a claim he partially used monies from nonprofits that were not required to disclose donors, otherwise known as so-called “dark money,” Bridge reported.
Fast forward eight years, the roles are nearly reversed. Whitmer is the governor operating secretly, taking trips funded by nonprofits that are not required to disclose donors.
Critics question the legality of a nonprofit designed for altruistic purposes spending tax-deductible money on what appears to be a personal trip.
“The Governor’s personal trip to visit her family in Florida is not within the exempt purpose of Michigan Transition 2019, and the organization’s payment for the Governor’s chartered flight was a private benefit to Governor Whitmer,” the complaint states.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Steve Johnson, R-Wayland, said he might probe the deal.
“If they refuse to (answer the questions), maybe, at that point, we will do hearings. It’s definitely something in consideration,” Johnson said. “I would like to give the administration the opportunity to answer questions before we go down that road.”
Reporter Charlie LeDuff of Deadline Detroit writes that total fund expenditures from the Michigan Transition 2019, which apparently paid $27,521 for the trip, exceeded $1 million from March 1, 2019, to April 30, 2021.
Whitmer defended her Florida trip to visit her ill father while she was not yet fully vaccinated, less than three weeks before she warned Michiganders not to travel to Florida because of COVID-19 variants.
When pressed by reporters, Whitmer explained: “[T]hat’s all I have to say on this.”
According to records, “office administration” expenses totaled $412,360.96, LeDuff writes, while consulting fees totaled $209,605, with no named consultants. LeDuff questions if a single $20,799 “gift” in January 2021 might have funded Whitmer and her family’s January travel to the Biden inauguration, about which Whitmer hasn’t explained the funding source.
Another $5,000 travel expense in July of 2020, remains a mystery.
The Detroit Free Press reported the wealthy jet owners aren’t licensed to charter out aircraft for passenger use, which might violate FAA rules. So the question remains: how many passengers were on that nine-seat Gulfstream G280 jet? If just Whitmer, this could be the start of her secrecy problems.
The revelations follow a string of controversies revolving around her administration’s secrecy.
For example, reporters earlier this spring uncovered Whitmer’s administration dished out $253,000 in three taxpayer-funded severance packages. Two of the three deals included nondisclosure agreements. One was later waived.
Unemployment Insurance Agency Director Gray resigned Nov. 5 after months of record jobless claims and subsequent delayed unemployment payments. Gray received a secret taxpayer-funded payout of $85,872.
Former state health director Robert Gordon, who resigned abruptly, was quietly paid $155,506.
This article was originally posted on IRS complaint filed for Whitmer’s nonprofit spending on secret Florida flight