Just as Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) campaign team has blamed the illegal charging of private plane flights to taxpayers on a charter flight company, the company is now saying that it was not their responsibility to take care of the transaction in the first place.
Butler Aviation out of Houma, whom owner Bobby Butler calls a “small charter company” with a few planes, is the vendor Landrieu has used over the last couple of years to fly privately across the state. And most recently, Landrieu has been exposed for misusing taxpayer money and violating federal law to pay for two flights that took the Senator to campaign fundraisers.
When news broke of the federal violation, Landrieu’s spokesman Fabien Levy blamed Butler Aviation, but Butler said his charter flight company simply sends Landrieu’s office the bills, which they then deal with.
“Ultimate responsibility falls on the Landrieu office,” said Butler.
Butler said Paul S. Ryan, senior counsel at the Campaign Legal Center which is a nonpartisan campaign watchdog, said it best when he told CNN that “It is the senator and the senator’s staff responsibility to comply with federal laws. It’s not the job of the vendor, per se. It sounds like their excuse is, ‘We didn’t do anything wrong; it’s the vendor.’ It’s the job of the senator and her staff not to pay bills out of a Senate office account if those bills were not for Senate business.”
Landrieu violated federal law when she charged her private jet round-trip flight from New Orleans to Lake Charles where she would be attending a campaign fundraiser to the taxpayers, costing them more than $3,000. Landrieu took the plan ride the day she took her infamous ride on Air Force One, where she accompanied President Obama.
Also, last September, Landrieu flew on a private plane from New Orleans to Shreveport, where she attended an official event. Afterwards, Landrieu took that same private jet and traveled on to Dallas, where she attended a campaign fundraiser. All of this at the expense of the taxpayer, totaling $5,700. This is now Landrieu’s second violation of federal law.