State clears Whitmer campaign of wrongdoing in private flight to Florida

Michigan

In a photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP)

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The Michigan Department of State has cleared Governor Gretchen Whitmer and her campaign of two campaign finance violations, including chartering a flight to Florida in March.

As with any complaint, the professional staff with Michigan’s Bureau of Elections conducted a thorough analysis that included a review of all relevant laws, policies, and the facts presented, which resulted in the Department concluding that there was no legal violation in either instance.”

Jake Rollow, Department of State spokesman

The first complaint involved Whitmer chartering a flight using campaign committee funds for a non-state-related trip.

According to a previous report from WLNS, a non-profit organization paid the vast majority of Gov. Whitmer’s $27,521 bill for her flight to Florida in March.

Initially, Whitmer wouldn’t say how the flight was funded, only acknowledging that it was not a gift and did not come from taxpayer dollars.

The flight was contentious in the first place because it came back in March, during the same time the Governor was telling Michiganders to avoid travel if at all possible.

Whitmer’s defense was that this was not a vacation, rather a trip to see her elderly father.

GOP members argued that she was not only being hypocritical by traveling but added that she wasn’t being transparent by hiding the way her trip was funded.

“However, I fully expect Republican party officials will continue to make political attacks against the governor and her family, so I wanted you to have the facts,” Whitmer said.

The Department concluded that the use of campaign funds to pay for the chartered flight was a permissible use of funds because their purpose was to ensure the Governor’s physical safety in response to credible and ongoing threats related to her role as Governor of Michigan.

The Governor subsequently reimbursed the campaign committee for the market value of first-class flights for herself and her family.

The second complaint involved the Whitmer for Governor campaign committee’s acceptance of donations exceeding campaign contribution limits due to several recall efforts.

After the matter was brought before the Department, there was no evidence of a violation, the Department of State said.

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