In the final days of a fruitful fundraising quarter, Texas Governor Rick Perry jetted up and down the East Coast on a private plane with a troubled past.
The Texas governor used a plane that was formerly used in a cocaine smuggling scheme, which was busted last November. An examination of flight logs shows Perry flew on the scandal-plagued plane owned by a California Mexican food conglomerate for a total of 12 flights as he attended several campaign events and fundraisers last month.
A spokesman for Perry told ABC News the campaign was unaware of the chartered plane’s previous destinations.
“We were chartering a plane and not aware of any of the plane’s previous flights,” Miner said in an e-mail.
The flight logs reveal that between Sept. 26 and Oct. 1, Perry flew on the plane to Baltimore, Teterboro, Washington Dulles, Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Wheeling, W.V. and Dekalb, Ga., all located near fundraisers, which helped Perry net the $17 million he raised in the third fundraising quarter.
Perry also used the chartered plane to fly to New Hampshire, where he participated in two town halls, a meet-and-greet, a chili cook-off and a house party hosted by New Hampshire kingmaker Ovide Lamontagne. Perry then flew on the plane back to Austin before using it again to fly to California for more fundraisers.
News of Perry’s use of the plane linked to a drug smuggling ring was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
This is one in a series of controversial plane stories emerging this week for the Perry campaign.
The New York Times reported earlier in the week that Perry underpaid a Texas businessman who provided his jet to the Perry campaign in the last fundraising quarter; the campaign paid only for the seats used by the campaign, not the equivalent of the full cost of a chartered flight.
On Wednesday, the campaign told The New York Times they will reimburse owners of the private planes for the proper amount – a total that could equal “five figures.”
While Perry has flown via private jets for a good portion of the campaign season so far, he has flown commercial as well, most recently flying to and from Las Vegas from Austin on Southwest this past week.