Monday, July 14, 2014

Mike Huckabee travels in style on private jets; handles bookings, too

Posted By on Mon, Jul 14, 2014 at 7:05 AM

click to enlarge REUSABLE: Political opponents might want to save this cartoon for future use against candidate Huckabee. - MATT WUERKER/POLITICO
  • Matt Wuerker/Politico
  • REUSABLE: Political opponents might want to save this cartoon for future use against candidate Huckabee.
Politico features something that won't surprise old students of Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor who relocated to a beachfront mansion in income-tax -free Florida to cash in his celebrity in the media world. The former man of the cloth loves to live in high style, particularly when somebody else is paying (remember the Mansion expense account scandal?) 

As a presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee made a name for himself as the regular Joe on the debate stage, a threadbare underdog who couldn’t afford his opponents’ Madison Avenue-style commercials, plush hotels and chartered planes. In his campaign memoir, Huckabee proclaimed that he “kept in touch” with ordinary people while eating food-court fare and waiting for long-delayed commercial flights as “other candidates were stepping onto their Gulfstream jets.”

These days, the former Arkansas governor is living — and flying — far more comfortably.

Now a Fox News commentator and highly  paid public speaker, Huckabee has in just a few years racked up at least $253,000 in private air travel bills on the way to political events, according to a POLITICO review of federal and state campaign finance records.

The cartoon developed for the article is sharp. And it is easily reusable by opponents should the Huckster get into the 2016 presidential race, as at least one person quoted in the article thinks he might.

Political candidates pay big dollars to have Huckabee grace their campaigns. He's a busy man, his staff explains. Too busy for commercial flights. Note that campaign spokesman is Sylvester Smith, who also works out as lobbyist for the chamber of commerce/Republican front group known as the National Federation of Independent Business. In spare time,  Sylvester Smith can also be found busily promoting Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson. You could consider that a  little payback for Democrat Mike Ross' defeat of Smith's mama, Judy Smith, in a congressional race some years ago. Judy Smith found work in state government after her defeat with Huckabee's help.

Intriguing, too, was this footnote from Politico:

Campaigns and political committees have paid the cost of Huckabee’s travel by cutting checks to one of two private companies linked to the politician-turned-TV-commentator: Blue Diamond Travel, a business registered at Huckabee’s Florida address, or the now-defunct MDH Group, an Arkansas entity named for the former governor’s initials.

On 14 occasions, Huckabee’s political action committee has also directly paid for private air travel expenses, reporting $30,000 in disbursements to MDH Group for charter travel to “PAC events” and a dozen additional outlays to chartered air travel companies.

The article doesn't examine whether these billing arrangements provided profit as well as private jet travel for the Huckster.

Long-time Huckster watchers will remember one of his first state Ethics Commission dustups was over renting his own private airplane to himself for a political campaign. And passing out other campaign checks to related parties. Politico summarized it in a roundup of his checkered ethical record:

The ethics commission fined Huckabee $1,000 for failing to report that he paid himself $14,000 from his 1992 U.S. Senate campaign and $43,000 from his 1994 lieutenant governor's campaign.

The latter payment — for the use of his eight-seat, twin-engine plane — was reported in a cryptic way that didn’t identify Huckabee and his wife as the owners of the plane.

Leopard. Spots.


Tags: , , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Maddie's Place makes a believer out of a skeptic

    After a long hiatus, I return to Maddie's Place in Riverdale and find the food is a lot tastier than I remembered.
    • Aug 19, 2015
  • Satanic Temple: Make Rapert pay for Ten Commandments monument

    A petition drive has begun to encourage a demand that Sen. Jason Rapert pay for the legal fees in defending his Ten Commandments monument proposed for the state Capitol grounds. It's more work by the Satanic Temple, which has fought church-state entanglement around the country.
    • Aug 28, 2016
  • Matt Campbell files ethics complaint against Dennis Milligan

    Little Rock attorney and blogger Matt Campbell, whose knack for deep research brought down Mark Darr, Mike Maggio and Dexter Suggs, now has his sights trained on another worthy target. Today, he filed a 113-page ethics complaint against state Treasurer Dennis Milligan that includes 14 separate allegations.
    • Aug 20, 2015

Most Shared

  • Constituents go Cotton pickin' at Springdale town hall

    Sen. Tom Cotton, cordial to a fault, appeared before a capacity crowd at the 2,200 seat Pat Walker Performing Arts Center at Springdale High tonight to a mixed chorus of clapping and boos. Other than polite applause when he introduced his mom and dad and a still moment as he led the crowd in a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance — his night didn't get much better from there.
  • Stand up for Little Rock

    If Little Rock deteriorates because of substandard schools, there will be blame aplenty to share. But some elected leaders deserve special mention.
  • Hating the media

    Presidents, with the exception of George Washington, never found much joy with the media, although Donald Trump is the first to use the scarily freighted words "enemies of the people."
  • What's new and coming soon to Argenta

    A riverfront hotel, new residential development, food, drink and more.
  • Downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock are back in business

    Main Street and beyond bustles.

Visit Arkansas

Little River County gears up for Sesquicentennial

Little River County gears up for Sesquicentennial

Historical entertainment planned for joint celebration of three Southwest Arkansas milestone anniversaries

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation