A report in the Lexington Herald-Leader reveals Governor Steve Beshear used a state plane to take his family to the 2011 NCAA Final Four basketball tournament in Houston.

The Kentucky Democratic Party reimbursed the state $6,105 for the flight and has spent almost $85,000 to cover the cost of similar flights since the governor took office.

From the Herald-Leader:

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.


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.

Beshear implemented rules in February 2008 regarding use of state aircraft for personal and political purposes, an issue stemming from the administration of former Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher.

The policy states that “any costs of travel for personal purposes shall not be paid with state funds. Travel for political purposes is deemed a personal activity. The costs of travel for personal or political purposes shall be calculated using costs that would be considered at a rate developed by a commercial air charter company.”