Virginia Republicans slam Terry McAuliffe on use of state plane

Virginia Republicans slam Terry McAuliffe on use of state plane
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Virginia Republicans are criticizing Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe for flying political consultants on the state's plane.

John Findlay, executive director of the Virginia GOP, sent a letter to McAuliffe on Thursday raising questions about the governor's use of the aircraft.

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“Records indicate that, contrary to your political spokesperson’s statement, state resources have been used for political travel during your administration," Findlay wrote in a letter obtained first by The Hill.

A spokesman for McAuliffe's political action committee Common Good VA told The Washington Post in September that McAuliffe does not use the state-owned plane for political travel.

But Republicans say flight manifests show two political advisers flew with McAuliffe on March 13, 2014: Patrick Hallahan, a political consultant and adviser to McAuliffe's gubernatorial campaign; and Michael Halle, then-executive director of Common Good VA.

“While you have made repeated claims about your 'dedication to the taxpayers,' a troubling pattern has emerged in which information about your use of state-owned and taxpayer-funded resources consistently comes to light only under scrutiny from members of the news media, and not as a result of pro-active disclosure by the Office of the Governor,” Findlay wrote.

McAuliffe spokesman Brian Coy confirmed that the consultants flew on the plane but rejected what he called “a spurious attack even by the Republican Party of Virginia’s low standard.”

He said that "the event in question was an official event in [Manassas, Va.] about the damage Republican overcoming resistance to expanding health care coverage is doing to hospitals and families."

"The individuals they name were in Richmond the evening before for an unrelated event and the governor offered them a lift home in spare seats on the plane at no expense to taxpayers," Coy said.

McAuliffe was elected to a four-year term as governor of Virginia in 2013. His predecessor, Bob McDonnell, was convicted of corruption for taking gifts from a political donor and sentenced to two years in prison.

  McAuliffe Travel Letter