* NBC 5…
Gov. J.B. Pritzker has made four out-of-state trips for official business since taking office in January. Each time, he has traveled on private chartered jets but he has not charged taxpayers, according to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.
On Feb. 21, Pritzker, a Democrat, headed to the National Governor’s conference and a black-tie dinner at the White House. At Chicago Executive Airport in Wheeling, he and his wife M.K. boarded a private jet en route to Washington’s Dulles Airport. Four staffers plus a member of the governor’s security detail also boarded a G200 private jet along with a three person flight crew for the two-and-a-half hour flight, according to travel documents obtained in a public records request.
In all, Pritzker has made three official trips to Washington and one to New York.
The governor’s office in a written response noted “The Governor does not charge his travel expenses to the state of Illinois” and said personal and campaign funds were used to rent the jets. […]
When asked about the privately funded trips, Susan Garrett, a co-founder of the Center for Illinois Politics, said “it’s never been done before in Illinois.”
A former Democratic state senator, Garrett acknowledges the unusual move saves taxpayers money, but she said, “There’s something to be said for public servants who have to work within budgets and rules and guidelines.”
It’s never been done before? Really?…
Gov. Bruce Rauner used a helicopter, apparently owned by a campaign donor, to get him to a public event on Friday.
“He covered the cost personally, so it would not be at the taxpayers’ expense,” said Rauner spokeswoman Laurel Patrick.
The helicopter landed at Aurora University so Rauner could go to an assessment of flood damaged areas in nearby Lake County. Federal and state emergency management agencies and the Small Business Administration were involved.
That took all of three seconds to find on Google.
…Adding… As noted by commenters, using campaign money to pay governmental and public policy travel is perfectly legal in this state…
10 ILCS 5/9-8.10)
Sec. 9-8.10. Use of political committee and other reporting organization funds.
(a) A political committee shall not make expenditures:
(6) For the travel expenses of any person unless the travel is necessary for fulfillment of political, governmental, or public policy duties, activities, or purposes.
That was done to help cut down on governmental travel expenditures. It was, in other words, a reform.
*** UPDATE *** Back in 2003, then Sen. Susan Garrett was the chief sponsor of a bill that, in part, did this…
Nothing in this Section prohibits the expenditure of funds of (i) a political committee controlled by an officeholder or by a candidate or (ii) an organization subject to Section 9-7.5 to defray the ordinary and necessary expenses of an officeholder in connection with the performance of governmental duties.