FRANKFORT — Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear used a state plane in April to take his family to the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament in Houston, but the state Democratic Party picked up the $6,105 tab for the flight.
Since Beshear became governor in December 2008, he has made much use of state aircraft for political and non-governmental purposes — but not at state expense.
The Democratic Party has reimbursed the state about $85,000 and Beshear's re-election campaign has paid the state $5,645 to cover the cost of such flights by the Democratic governor, according to a review of flight-expense records by the Lexington Herald-Leader.
Questions about Beshear's use of the state aircraft arose in March when the Herald-Leader reported Beshear used a state airplane to attend a political event in Louisa during a two-day trip around the state to rally public support for a plan to deal with shortfalls in the Medicaid program.
Beshear initially said his trips to nine Kentucky cities were not related to his re-election campaign. After an inquiry by the newspaper, Beshear's campaign manager, Bill Hyers, acknowledged the governor had "a political event" in Louisa and would follow his administration's policy to reimburse the state for any non-governmental use of state aircraft.
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