U.S. Senator Mark Warner's bilking of tax payers for charter jet service, which harkens back to the days of Congressional travel junkets, is starting to take on a political shelf life. You know it's so when the Washington Post and other state and national Mainstream Media not only mention it, but harp on it and won't let it go. His Republican opponent, Ed Gillespie, is making sure of that with the launch of the campaign's first adjunct website, AirWarner.com, (motto: "Flying High On Your Dime") complete with video (see below). Not only did Warner take a charter jet tour of Virginia last year at the cost of $8,500 to taxpayers, he stated at the time he was driving the four corners of the commonwealth. By contrast, his fellow Virginia Democrat, Senator Tim Kaine, made a similar tour of the state in a car that cost taxpayers only $691.
But that wasn't the first time. Senator Warner has "hit the road" in Virginia via luxury jet several times during the last six years to the $150,000 cost to taxpayers. Warner is estimated to be the wealthiest U.S. Senator. He has made a political living by preaching bipartisanship and austere spending, in which he's escaped his party line partisanship and big spending reality.
Here's a sampling of Warner's rhetoric on spending:
(I will) cut spending and "clean up the mess in Washington." - Campaign ad, 2008
He called for a, "line-by-line review of the federal budget to identify waste and fraud." - First Senate floor speech, 2009
He called for federal agencies to "aggressively look for more ways to save taxpayer money." - Press release, 2010
"We will ask of everyone to put a little skin in the game" when it comes to reducing spending. - Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 2011
"The public deserves to know in detail how each federal dollar is spent and it's our job to ensure that these funds are used effectively and efficiently.” - Capitol Hill Hearing Testimony, 2012
"In this tough economic climate, we should be doing all we can to ensure that taxpayers and policymakers can follow the money to hold our government more accountable." - Press release, 2013
"I promise to keep working in the Senate to continue to hold the federal government accountable for waste, fraud, and inefficiency, and give the taxpayers the transparency they deserve." - Press release, 2014
"We should take every opportunity to ensure every taxpayer dollar is spent wisely." - Press release, 2014
But the money quote doesn't come from Senator Warner. It comes from Zen Air, the New Jersey-based, exclusive, charter flight service Senator Warner spent our money on. By its own description, Zen Air . . .
is dedicated to bringing the glamour back in flying, to make it a true luxury and a pleasant memory. Traveling is not just about the destination, it is how you get there.
If he's going to spend our money, couldn't he at least use a Virginia charter jet service, and keep jobs and tax revenue here? Meanwhile, Virginians are stuck in traffic while paying higher taxes, suffering through a prolonged economic malaise brought on by big spending, big debt and Obamacare — all of which passed with Senator Warner's votes — and he finds it perfectly acceptable to surround himself in aristocratic comforts at taxpayer expense.
Air Warner: New Jersey's best at taxpayer expense.