It’s a full-blown scandal: Mary Landrieu comes under fire for two more taxpayer-funded trips that included campaign fundraisers

The last several days have been a big headache for Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA). She was caught using taxpayer dollars to charter a flight from New Orleans to a campaign fundraiser in Lake Charles. Then, a couple days later, a second taxpayer-funded flight to a campaign fundraiser was discovered.

While her campaign has played down the trips as an oversight and promised to reimburse the Senate for the improper trips out of campaign funds, Politico has discovered two more fundraising trips, these from 2012, that were paid for by her official Senate office:

On Aug. 23, 2012, Butler Aviation charged $6,787 for an in-state flight for Landrieu that included multiple stops. The flight was from New Orleans to Vidalia to Shreveport to Alexandria and back to New Orleans, according to official disbursement records Landrieu filed with the secretary of the Senate.

On Oct. 18, 2012, Butler Aviation charged $3,437 for a Landrieu flight from New Orleans to Opelousas to Patterson and back to New Orleans.

Both trips included campaign-related events that raise questions about whether some or all of the costs of the charter flights should have been covered by Landrieu’s reelection campaign, rather than her official office.
On the day of Landrieu’s Aug. 23, 2012 trip, Federal Election Commission records indicate the reelection campaign received an “in-kind donation” for catering and room rental in Shreveport and Bossier City, which is about two miles from Shreveport. Landrieu aides said the trip included a “meet and greet” for young professionals hosted by the campaign that was incidental to the official stops she attended that day.
On the same day as the Oct. 18, 2012 trip, local newspaper reports indicate that Landrieu spoke at a fundraiser held at the Petroleum Club in Morgan City, which is about seven miles from Patterson. Landrieu’s campaign did not respond to questions about this trip.

According to a local television report, Landrieu has ordered a full review of her travel since she took office in 1997, which will supposedly come out some time next month. Obviously, the vulnerable Louisiana Democrat wants to get any other potential problems out of the way before voters head to the polls in November and, again, on December 6 when she’ll face her main Republican rival in a runoff.

The Louisiana Senate race is one of several that will decide control of the upper chamber this fall. Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) leads Landrieu by a razor-thin margin in a prospective runoff, according to Real Clear Politics.


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