Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Cirrus SR22: Bobby Harrell’s Reimbursement Problem Gets Bigger ... Did South Carolina Speaker Overstate His Travel Costs? - FITSNews

A Cirrus SR22 similar to Bobby Harrell’s plane.

By fitsnews • on October 3, 2012 

South Carolina  House Speaker Bobby Harrell’s campaign reimbursement scandal just won’t die.  In fact the more people dig into the numbers surrounding the scandal, the more questions they have.
Last month, reporter Renee Dudley of The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier dropped a bombshell on the Palmetto political landscape when she reported that Harrell – a powerful “Republican in Name Only” from the Lowcountry – had reimbursed himself more than $325,000 from his campaign account over the last four years.  That’s controversial because it means Harrell is personally benefiting from a fund that’s supposed to exclusively finance campaign activity – a fund that’s loaded with contributions from special interests seeking to influence Harrell’s official actions.

(To read Dudley’s story, click here).

Harrell has basically acknowledged his guilt as it relates to at least $23,000 of the reimbursements – returning this money to his campaign account.  But there may be other problems on the horizon for the embattled big government backer.

For example, in responding to the original story about these dubious reimbursements, Harrell’s office told the Post and Courier that the Speaker’s campaign reimbursed him in the amount of “$800 or $900 a leg” for flights on his Cirrus SR22.  However, Harrell’s office never provided any information regarding how it calculated that figure – which is now being called into question by sources familiar with this aircraft.

According to a 2008 aircraft comparison guide prepared by Cessna – and provided to FITS by one of these sources –  the “total cost per flight hour” associated with a Cirrus SR22 was $131.03 (or $140.21 adjusting for inflation). That price includes fuel, labor, parts and maintenance.

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