Governor Jay Nixon has a new plane to fly him around the state and beyond--but now that private plane is raising tough questions about a top administration nominee.
|Description: (NAT SOUND OF AIRPLANE)|
That's the sound of Governor Nixon's new $5.6 million airplane, paid for by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
State lawmakers just found out about the plane purchase last week. Now, they're holding up the nomination of acting Commissioner Doug Nelson until they get more answers about how the plane was paid for. Senate Appropriations chairman Kurt Schaefer had this to say:
|Description: "This is an issue of essentially either failing to recognize or simply not caring about the general assembly's role in how the public's money is spent."|
Reporting from the state Capitol, I'm Alex Mallin.
Governor Jay Nixon is breaking in the new plane in his state fleet, but that same plane has put one of his top administration officials in the hot seat.
Wrap: Nixon has nominated Doug Nelson to stay on as Commissioner of Administration. But that bid is on hold until Nelson answers questions about why funds from the Missouri State Highway Patrol budget were used to purchase the $5.6 million aircraft.
Senators Kurt Schaefer and Scott Rupp speculated that the new plane, which can fly further, might help the governor get where he needs to be if he has Presidential, or Vice Presidential ambitions.
|Description: Schaefer:"But I think you do have to ask yourself why would the Highway Patrol need to go to Iowa or New Hampshire? I think that's a legitimate question." Rupp: "Well they probably have to do their duty and guard the governor who most likely might want to be visiting those states, so, just was an interesting coincidence."|
When Republican lawmakers found out just last week about Governor Nixon's purchase of a private plane, they responded by putting on hold the appointment of a top administration official.
Wrap: Republican Senator Kurt Schaefer is sponsoring Doug Nelson's confirmation for Commissioner of Administration.
But when his Republican colleagues started firing off questions on Nelson's role in the purchase of the $5.6 million plane, Schaefer pulled back on Nelson's senate confirmation.
Republican Senator Ryan Silvey says the purchase was a clear misuse of state funds.
|Description: "When you look at other options for the Governor's travel, either purchasing a used plane or chartering a plane there's a number of other things that we could have examined had we been given the opportunity which is why I think it's so important that the legislature not be bypassed on major purchases like this."|
Reporting from the state capitol, I'm Alex Mallin.
Governor Jay Nixon's administration has bought a new plane to fly the governor around in style -- and now the governor doesn't want to talk about it.
|Description: "This is Alex Mallin standing outside Governor Jay Nixon's office at the state capitol, where press secretary Scott Holste refuses to comment, both on the postponed confirmation of Doug Nelson as Commissioner of Administration as well as the purchase made by the state highway patrol of a $5.6 million airplane for use by the governor and state officials. After discussion on the Senate floor, Republican Senator Kurt Schaefer postponed for further discussion the nomination of Nelson, who is acting already as Commissioner of Administration. This comes after the Senate discovered last week that the plane purchase was made without the consideration of the general assembly, a move that Republican Senator Ryan Silvey says has not occurred in the history of the state. Reporting outside of Governor Jay Nixon's office at the state capitol, I'm Alex Mallin."|