Monday, February 27, 2006

That heady sense of entitlement

Not that these shenanigans don't cross party lines, but this from our Light Gov, one of the avatars of the "We need to get government off our backs and out of our wallets" Maryland Republicans.

Steele Should Refund Taxpayers for Out of State Political Travel
Steele’s Spanish Holiday Cost Maryland Taxpayers $13,500;
Almost $50,000 in Taxpayer Funds Used for Political Functions

Annapolis, MD – The Maryland Democratic Party is calling on Lt. Governor Michael Steele to refund nearly $50,000 in state taxpayer funds spent on partisan political travel, including a six-day summertime holiday to Madrid in 2005. According to the Washington Post, the Lt. Governor has spent 128 days – over 4 months – in out of state travel, including numerous trips for purely political purposes. A front page report in the Baltimore Business Journal details how Maryland taxpayers paid at least $13,500 to cover the cost of a political getaway for Lt. Governor Michael Steele and at least one government staffer to gather with a Republican political club in Spain.

“George Bush’s handpicked candidate for the Senate race in Maryland has every right to travel abroad but he has no right to make the taxpayers fund his Spanish vacation or his forays on behalf of fellow Republicans,” says Derek Walker, Executive Director of the Maryland Democratic Party.

“The $13,500 price tag for the Spanish trip covers just his security detail,” adds Walker. “It’s obvious from pictures published on the internet by Republicans Abroad in Spain that Steele took members of his official government staff along with him. So, how much did Maryland taxpayers really pay for a six day excursion to Spain?”

The Baltimore Business Journal details nearly $50,000 worth of taxpayer funded expenses for Steele’s political efforts: “Lt. Gov. Michael Steele took more than 20 political trips in the past year, billing Maryland taxpayers each time for his security protection to places as far away as Spain. From July 2004 through December 2005, the lieutenant governor traveled to 21 cities in the name of the Republican Party and two additional destinations in the name of his campaign for U.S. Senate.”

“Robert Ehrlich and Michael Steele have increased the burden on taxpayers by over $3 billion since coming into office, and that doesn’t even include the egregious misuse of public funds for partisan political purposes,” said Walker. “The money Steele raised while arm-in-arm with George Bush and Karl Rove should more than cover the costs of these political junkets.”

The Washington Post article can be viewed here.

The Baltimore Business Journal article can be viewed here.

-- A tip o' the hat to Derek Walker


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