October 3, 2016

High Flyin’ Bayh: Ex-Senator Spent +$200k On Taxpayer-Funded Private Jets

Bayh Private Jet

Evan Bayh served in the Senate from 1999 to 2010, and in that time, he booked more than 130 private charter flights totaling $221,000. The flights were paid for by taxpayers, most of whom have never flown private in their lives. About a dozen of those flights also included charges for staff to fly with Bayh.

USA Today broke the story:

Former Indiana senator Evan Bayh, who is running for a second stint in the Senate, charged taxpayers more than $200,000 for charter flights during his tenure in office, while other Indiana senators avoided private planes, according to a USA TODAY analysis of Senate records.

Overall, USA TODAY identified at least 131 charters Bayh paid from his Senate office account from 1999 through 2010 totaling $221,000. About a dozen of the flights also included costs for staff riding along. Several other travel charges to Bayh’s office credit card appear to be charter-priced flights, but the details are not provided.

Some of the flights were from out of state, like a return trip back to Indiana from a fundraising weekend in Nantucket. The story explains how Bayh was able to charge taxpayers for his jet setting:

Senators pay for their official duties from taxpayer-funded accounts set aside for them to cover costs of staff, travel, office supplies and the like. The rules allow them to use these accounts to pay for charter aircraft for official travel when commercial flights “are not such that reasonable schedules may be kept.”

It’s hard to imagine a worse story for Bayh, who has been plagued with negative stories about how he left Indiana for a posh Washington, DC residence and generally being out of touch with Indiana voters.