Gretchen Whitmer Story Unravels: Florida Plane Not Authorized for Charter Flights

The private jet Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) said she chartered for her secret trip to Florida in March is not approved to be chartered, the FAA told the Detroit Free Press Monday.

The new problems arose when Whitmer’s chief of staff, Joanne Huls, attempted to explain away the flight Friday by saying a related 501(c)(4) so-called dark money group paid for the flight.

It was determined the cost of the roundtrip was $27,521, and Whitmer personally reimbursed the fund just $855 for her seat. It was not clear how they arrived at either figure.

In a memo that became public, Huls said Whitmer’s office “made a decision to use a chartered flight for this trip” due to security concerns. But it has been reported Whitmer’s office did not notify Florida law enforcement officials of the visit. The trip also came at a time Whitmer was urging Michiganders not to travel to Florida over coronavirus concerns.

“The cost to charter the flight was paid for by the Michigan Transition 2019,” the political nonprofit set up to accept anonymous donations for her inauguration, Huls said.

More from the paper:

Michigan Transition 2019 was incorporated in 2018 under Section 501c4 of the Internal Revenue Code, state records show. Such “social welfare” nonprofit funds are commonly used by state and local officeholders but have been the source of past controversies, notably for former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and for former Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, whose NERD (New Energy to Reinvent and Diversify) Fund was the subject of criticism for not disclosing its corporate donors and for paying the salary of a top Snyder aide, Richard Baird.

Elizabeth Isham Cory, a spokeswoman for the FAA, told the Free Press “companies that operate charter flights must have a Part 135 certificate” from the agency.

Air Eagle, LLC, a company owned by three Detroit-area businessmen, “does not have a Part 135 certificate,” according to Cory.

Whitmer’s original story was that her trip was strictly “personal” to visit her ailing father, who owns a property in West Palm Beach.

“I’ve said everything I am going to say about my trip to go check on my father,” Whitmer told a 9&10 News journalist when questions persisted. “It was a quick trip. It was an important family reason for doing it. And I have nothing to add.”

“I showed up when I was needed. I did a lot of cooking, a lot of cleaning,” Whitmer said last week.

“When you’re the governor of Michigan, you’re always on the clock, but it does not mean that you’re not also a daughter who shows up when a family member needs her,” she said.

But late Friday, Whitmer’s office claimed her 501(c)(4) organization paid for the flight, which would require an organization-related activity to do so.

Whitmer repeatedly claimed the trip was strictly personal business, which would not allow her to use nonprofit funds for that activity, Michigan Rising Action said after the news broke.

“501(c)(4) groups are social welfare organizations and are not allowed to pay for personal expenses for officials,” the group — itself a 501(c)(4) group — said in a news release.

If Whitmer had a legal justification for using the nonprofit funds for the trip, it would indicate she did other things in Florida besides tend to her father’s alleged needs. The trip occurred in March, the original story broke in April, and the 501(c)(4) acknowledged it as an expense in May.

“Today’s revelations that Whitmer’s non-profit paid for her personal trip to Florida is shady and makes it clear why she tried to hide the trip and cover up who paid,” Tori Sachs, Michigan Rising Action’s former executive director, said Friday.

“Either Whitmer’s Florida trip was for a legitimate 501(c)(4) purpose, in which case the c4 could pay for it, or it was personal, in which case a c4 can’t pay for it. Whitmer’s personal use of her 501(c)(4) account funds must be investigated.​”

Kyle Olson is a reporter for Breitbart News. He is also host of “The Kyle Olson Show,” syndicated on Michigan radio stations on Saturdays–download full podcast episodes. Follow him on Parler.


Report: DOJ Goes Maskless, Will Not Ask Vaccination Status

The Department of Justice (DOJ) will not ask employees to confirm their vaccination status after allowing them to go maskless indoors following updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), according to a report by the Hill.

In a Friday memo, the DOJ warned its managers not to ask employees about their vaccination status. According to the report, “The new policy, however, is a departure from DOJ guidance in February that said employers have the right to ask employees about their status.”

In an email sent to employees Friday, the DOJ’s assistant attorney general for administration said the supervisors and managers “should not ask about an employee’s vaccination status or use information about an employee’s vaccination status or make decisions about how and when employees will report to a workplace instead of teleworking.”

“As we go forward, we ask everyone to respect the wishes of our colleagues and visitors and ensure that anyone who chooses to continue wearing a mask while in department buildings and facilities may continue to do so without interference,” the DOJ also said.

The Hill report indicated the email did “note that employees who would like to continue wearing masks may do so.”

The CDC released the newest updates for masks, saying, fully vaccinated people “no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance” and only must do so when “required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”

The CDC defines a fully vaccinated person as someone for whom two weeks have passed after their receipt of the second dose in the two-dose series of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna shots or two weeks after the single-dose vaccine Johnson & Johnson.

This comes as major business chains are revise their own guidelines. Chains such as Trader Joe’s,  Walmart, and Target have made announcements saying they will no longer require customers to wear masks without mentioning a state-by-state policy. Costco announced their policy updates would be on a state-by-state basis.