Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used funds from an inauguration-related nonprofit to pay for a $27,521 trip to Florida to visit her ailing father in March, her chief of staff clarified Friday.
On Wednesday, the governor told reporters she had not used taxpayer funds for the trip and it was not a “gift,” but refused to elaborate, FOX News reported.
“She continued to carry out her duties as governor while she assisted her father in Florida with household duties like cooking and cleaning,” JoAnne Huls, the governor’s chief of staff, wrote in a memo to senior staff. “The governor’s flight was not a gift, not paid for at taxpayer expense, and was done in compliance with the law,”
Whitmer reportedly paid $855 out of pocket for her seat on the flight.
“As chief of staff, I acknowledge we could have done a better job of answering questions about this trip with more clarity while also balancing the need to protect the governor’s security, and for that I take responsibility,” Huls said in the memo.
The governor’s office chartered a flight because of ongoing security concerns and the coronavirus pandemic, using money from the Michigan Transition 2019 fund, a nonprofit originally formed for her inauguration.
Donors to the fund included many of Michigan’s largest special-interest groups and lobbying firms, the Michigan Campaign Finance Network reported.