High-Flying Crist Mum on Travel

Not-so-rare private air for Gov.

Gov. Crist flies the friendly skies often and in luxury, but don't ask him who pays for all those flights.
Over the past two years, Crist has taken about 100 flights on private jets, according to a report in the Sun Sentinel, but won't discuss the details of any of his pricey jaunts across the state.

In his two years as governor, Crist has regularly attended dinners, sporting events and political events by private jet, and most of the aircraft belonged to wealthy businessmen and GOP party donors.

Crist's office won't talk specifics on any of the flights, except to say none of the flights taken for personal trips were paid for by taxpayers.
The refusal for full disclosure seemingly goes against Crist's vow of openness in his administration, something he vowed when he took office.
"Our constitution requires that our government be open and transparent," Crist said in his January 2007 inaugural address. "And under my administration it will be like never before."

Crist and his staff have two state planes at their disposal 24/7, at a cost to taxpayers of $3.5 million a year. Crist has been careful to avoid using state planes for political or personal gain however, according to The Miami Herald.

The reason Crist hasn't flown as much on a state plane is "out of an abundance of caution," Crist spokeswoman Erin Isaac told The Herald. She said he flies at the Republican Party's expense when any political work appears on his schedule.

Nevertheless, questions persist about as to who is picking up the tab.

"The reporting of that is all adhered to in accordance with the disclosure laws the party abides by," Isaac said. "And when the governor travels for personal reasons, he personally pays for that travel."

If the plane rides are in fact gifts from donors, and the flights are for state business, Crist would have to disclose the details to the Florida Ethics Commission.

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