UPDATE: A reader writes in to note the similarity to Republican Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his scandal regarding hidden loans made by a donor that just came to light. Will there be calls for an investigation into Hickenlooper’s attempts to stymie public oversight too?
An investigation by Fox31 into the use of the taxpayer-funded state plane forced Governor Hickenlooper and a top supporter of his to refund the state for their travel. Unhappy with the scrutiny, Hickenlooper then moved to block public access to the state plane records, a move called “disturbing” by liberal Colorado Ethic Watch’s Lois Toro.
Reports Fox31‘s Justin Joseph:
DENVER — On a sunny Spring day in Centennial you’ll find private jets lining the runway, cleared for take-off. Many of these private planes transport some of Colorado’s most powerful and prestigious passengers.
One of them displays the tail number N205SP. It’s a King Air Turbo and comes with a price tag of $4.2 million.
It may surprise you to learn as a Colorado resident you own it. It’s one of the state planes paid for by your tax dollars…
For every hour in the air the state agency responsible for reserving the plane pays $525. Passengers, who are on board but not on state business are responsible for paying their own way.
FOX31 Denver found that includes Hickenlooper’s son Teddy. After we started asking questions and digging into state records, the governor wrote a check to the state for $904.
Ken Gart reimbursed the State $431 for the trip to the USA Pro Cycling trip.
When made aware of our report the state filed papers with the FAA to block the public from accessing the flight information from N205SP.
“That’s disturbing and it makes it seem like they don’t want the public to know what they’re using this plane for,” said Toro.
Governor Hickenlooper has shown a remarkably thin skin lately with the press. When asked by 9News about his connection to the murderer of Corrections Chief Tom Clements, he threatened to cut off the network’s access.
Now he’s seeking to block investigative reporting by making taxpayer-funded travel a private matter, despite it being paid for by the public.
Add that to the fact that he admitted support of a billion dollar tax hike in a closed door meeting with CEOs, while refusing to answer reporters questions about it for months.
It really makes you wonder what is going on in his head.