“We take our finances very seriously and are glad we caught the vendor’s mistake and were able to rectify the matter as soon as possible,” Levy said in a statement to ABC News on Wednesday.
Though the Landrieu campaign had already corrected the error, which it blamed on the charter company, Landrieu’s opponents cried foul.
“Sen. Landrieu’s disregard and abuse of taxpayer money is unacceptable and, reportedly, illegal,” Rep. Cassidy said in a statement. “She should return all the taxpayer money she has spent on charter flights, open up her travel logs for further review to ensure there are not more violations, and apologize to American taxpayers immediately.”
Candidate Col. Rob Maness, the tea party favorite in the race, suggested that the $3,200 flight was just the tip of the iceberg.
“In recent weeks, a disturbing pattern-of-behavior has been exposed revealing Sen. Mary Landrieu’s constant abuse of taxpayer dollars,” Maness said in a statement.
Then, the conservative America Rising PAC managed to squeeze a little extra play out of the media maelstrom that formed Wednesday with the rapid release of a Web video “Mary Landrieu, Louisiana’s Frequent Flier,” that mashed up sound bites on the story from local news reports.
Just as it seemed the story might die with the 24-hour news cycle by Thursday morning, a second CNN report was published late Wednesday night revealing that Landrieu would also reimburse a separate charter flight, for which her Senate office paid $5,700.
Landrieu had chartered the flight through her Senate office to attend an official event in Shreveport, Louisiana. While the Shreveport event qualified as official expense, the same plane then took Landrieu to Dallas, where she attended a fundraiser before returning to Washington.
"Out of an abundance of caution in case there was a cost allocation error connected to this flight, the Senate will be reimbursed for the [Shreveport to Dallas] flight," Landrieu's Senate spokesman Matthew Lehner told ABC News in a statement.
Cassidy’s campaign spokesman John Cummins called the second flight reimbursement “a pattern” of disregard for taxpayer money.
"This second offense shows a pattern of mismanagement of her office expenses,” Cummins said. “Sen. Landrieu only complied with federal law, nearly a year later, after she was caught red-handed. She then said she only complied with federal law out of an 'abundance of caution.' If an average Louisiana taxpayer broke the law, and then a year later tried to correct it, they couldn't get away with platitudes."
Adding fuel the fire, the conservative Keep Louisiana Working group announced soon thereafter that it had filed an FEC complaint against Landrieu over the charter flights; and the Louisiana Republican Party launched an “Air Mary” campaign, complete with a Twitter handle @AirMaryLa. The tongue-in-cheek Twitter handle provides this description: “Taxpayer Funded Flights since 1997, because clout doesn't fly coach.”