Shady McCrory at it Again: Failed to Report or Reimburse Political Travel on State Plane
Gov. McCrory's travel documents are concerning, to say the least. The State allows for use of their aircrafts for political purposes, as long as the State is reimbursed for the use of their resources, however, McCrory is failing to reimburse the state the full cost for trips to Republican Governors Association events. Not only do his reimbursements not match up, but his ethics disclosures, which should include the estimated total amount spent on a trip, raise questions because they're significantly lower than they should be.
Flight logs, NCDOT bills and other calculations done by On Your Side Investigates (in two instances where a flight manifest or NCDOT bill was not provided, we researched the average flight time between the departure and arrival cities to determine the number of flight hours) show the six RGA trips taken by McCrory on state aircraft cost a total of $62,697.
A review of the RGA’s itemized tax disclosures found that the group only reimbursed the North Carolina Department of Transportation $15,459 for use of state aircraft over three payments.
All three payments appear to coincide with trips by McCrory on state aircraft to RGA events but none of the payments cover the full cost of the plane’s use.
For instance, McCrory flew the state-owned jet to Philadelphia, PA for an up-and-back trip on August 19, 2014. A flight manifest for the day’s trips shows McCrory flew from Raleigh to Philadelphia that morning and then took the jet from Philadelphia to Concord, NC, where he and his security detail got off the plane before it flew back empty to Raleigh.
A note on the flight manifest for that day shows the RGA would be billed for half of the flight hours used that day - which tax records show the RGA paid - but does not explain why taxpayers would pick up the tab for the other half.
Tax records filed by the RGA show the organization paid NCDOT $6,320 on September 4, 2014. The RGA’s filing says the payment was for travel expenses but does not specify for whom or to where.
Another RGA trip taken by McCrory - to Washington, D.C. in February - cost $8,426.
A note on the flight record shows a non-state group was billed $2,139 for flight time but there is no record of the RGA paying that amount. The campaign finance report filed by McCrory’s campaign for the first quarter 2016 also does not appear to include any reimbursement of flight expenses.
We sent multiple emails to an RGA spokesman requesting an explanation for the gap between the amount of total flight time used by McCrory to fly to and from RGA events and the amount of money reimbursed by the group. Jon Thompson, an RGA spokesman, originally said he would check their records and respond to our inquiry but never did.