It’s almost as if they just can’t help themselves. Politicians don’t need any assistance to make them look shady. They do it to themselves.
The latest example? Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Speaker of the Kansas House Mike O’Neal hopped the state-owned plane on a jaunt to watch the University of Kansas Jayhawks play in the NCAA National Championship game, the Wichita Eagle reported last week.
We’re shaking our heads.
Despite tacit approval from a Democrat and professor of political science at Kansas State University Joe Airstrup who told the newspaper, “Governors do all kinds of trade missions to different countries and represent the state at a variety of events. When you have a major event like a state university in the national spotlight, it’s usually expected the state’s leader will be there.”
But a spokesperson for O’Neal told the paper the trip to New Orleans was a “pleasure trip,” not a mission to represent the state.
The Kentucky governor also attended the basketball game, but he didn’t do it on the taxpayers’ dime. Instead, the Democrat Party, of which the Kentucky Governor is a member, funded the trip.
That makes a lot more sense to us. Although political revelers only spent about $3,000 on plane rides to NCAA tournament games, we think it would be in the best interests of the state if members of the traveling party refunded the cost of the plane ride back to the state of Kansas.
The fact that it’s been done in the past is not reason to continue the practice of using state assets at taxpayer expense for “pleasure” trips. Today’s political reality is different from what it once was, and now more than ever, Kansas voters expect politicians to watch every penny.
It’s time for Kansas politicians to put their money where their mouths are. That means treating taxpayer money like the precious commodity it is.
If they can’t bring themselves to do it for Kansas taxpayers, at the very least they should do it to curry the favor of Kansas voters. We’re watching.