Travel Issues in the News

Issues regarding the use of private aircraft for campaign travel are in the news.

Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, didn’t waste a lot of verbiage reacting to the New York Times report on his use of a private jet belonging to his wife’s company for campaign trips — at less cost than normal charter flights

At a news conference in Coral Gables, Florida, McCain used just eight words to respond to a reporter’s question before moving on. “What we did was perfectly legal and appropriate,” McCain said. The Arizona senator didn’t answer the part of the reporter’s question about whether the use of plane contradicted McCain’s stance on campaign finance reform.

There is nothing illegal about what McCain did. Under a law which McCain supported, presidential candidates are now required to pay charter rates rather than just less expensive commercial first class rates when they use corporate jets. But under an FEC exemption, candidates don’t have to reimburse full costs if the plane is owned by a candidate, a candidate’s family, or by a privately held company controlled by a candidate or a candidate’s family member.  

More analysis here.  An FEC regulation, 11 CFR 100.93, requires that political committees maintain documentation regarding travel on private aircraft.  This additional information is not required to be disclosed on committee reports, however, as the analysis carefully avoids asserting.

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