Should politicians be criticized for using private aircraft?

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by labbadabba, Oct 15, 2018.

  1. labbadabba

    labbadabba Pattern Altitude

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    In a local race, one incumbent is being hit hard for the use of a private plane which is owned by a LLC in which the incumbent's spouse is the majority owner. There's no legal impropriety in these actions but the challenger seems to be hammering on the issue of having a private aircraft and using it.

    I've intentionally left this post agnostic to party to avoid the Spin Zone. I'm more curious what POAers and how the GA community should feel about these kinds of attacks.
     
  2. tawood

    tawood Pattern Altitude

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    In before the lock! (I've always wanted to say that...)
     
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  3. labbadabba

    labbadabba Pattern Altitude

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    And crap, this was supposed to be in Hangar Talk...

    Mods can you move?
     
  4. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips Pattern Altitude

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    Are we talking single engine, light twin, Lear jet? (It really doesn't matter, except for public perception, what form of transportation one uses, does it?)
     
  5. kayoh190

    kayoh190 En-Route PoA Supporter

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    If it’s coming out of their own pocket, I don’t see why I should care.
     
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  6. eman1200

    eman1200 Ejection Handle Pulled PoA Supporter

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    TLDR

    IBTL!
     
  7. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It's a load of crap. Airplanes are tools used to accomplish geographically diverse tasks in the most efficient way possible.

    But, as soon as someone hears "private airplane", even if it's a 172, they think "private jet" which is seen as a wasteful, rich-guy toy.

    Our state airplanes (especially the King Air 350 and the trio of PC12s used to transport the gov and state employees around) end up as a campaign issue almost every time the governor is up for re-election. I actually wrote a letter to the editor in support of a governor's use of state aircraft years ago, even though I did not like said governor at all (and said so in the letter).

    But, it's merely an easy, populist position to take that aircraft are bad because only rich guys have them. I don't expect this sort of thing to go away any time soon.
     
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  8. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Ugh oh, this one could get ugly.

    IIRC we discussed this subject not long ago after an incident happened and the media scrutinized the person. Can’t remember who or what, but I know we have talked about this in the recent past.
     
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  9. labbadabba

    labbadabba Pattern Altitude

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    They use a PC-12 in the ad.
     
  10. tawood

    tawood Pattern Altitude

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    I declare shenanigans!
     
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  11. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Anything that can possibly be made into an issue, will be made into an issue.

    No blow is to low.

    I is the only vowel in win.
     
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  12. -KLB-

    -KLB- Pre-takeoff checklist

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    It is quite likely that there is a considerable risk of errors in campaign finance reporting of the use of the plane. But other than that, I can't think of any other legal aspects. (And any errors are likely difficult to prove, and likely just administrative fines, not a disqualification of the candidate)

    But the biggest issues I can see are of perception. It would look better if it was the candidate's LLC, as it would speak to how business savvy the candidate has, as opposed to how beholden to the spouses interests the candidate will be. (Not that this can't be a question even without the use of the plane).

    In theory, if elected, the candidate is already at conflict of interest for any actions that might affect the LLC, and likely has to recuse themselves from any such decision. So use of the plane can't be a bribe for future business favors by the candidate as an elected official.

    Harping on the use of the plane is likely a loosing candidate throwing something at the media or public perception, hoping something sticks. Otherwise, I would think it has too much risk of pointing out that his opponent is half of a highly successful couple, and it would appear he isn't. It certainly isn't an approach I would try. In fact, if I were on the other side and someone asked, I would probably answer that my spouse and I know how to be successful, if you think that's is a good skill to have in your government, we would love your vote.
     
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  13. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Not long ago a US Senator and her husband were attacked for having the gall to ask Flightaware to block tracking of their personal PC-12. They must be hiding something!! :mad::rolleyes::cool:
     
  14. Zeldman

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    Trying to stay out of spin zone territory, but it sounds as if that one specific party is complaining as usual, like when they always find that the other party candidate molested (insert anything here) before becoming a politician.

    IBTL
     
  15. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    There used to be in the FARs specific rules allowing a part 91 operation to carry a politician and receive compensation. Not sure if that is still allowed or not.
     
  16. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    It all just political bull .
     
  17. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I think KLB has it correct.

    So long as the vehicle is not used in a way which could curry favor with donors, regulators, or the like it's just like having an SUV with wings.
     
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  18. cowman

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    Same here. It's his money why shouldn't he use it however he wants like the rest of us would? Are we pretending people who run for office aren't all independently wealthy or something?

    I will say this though, if I find out a politician holds a PPL or higher and is still actively flying that does make me more likely to vote for them.
     
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  19. Fearless Tower

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    If they are paying for it themselves, it shouldn’t matter. But public perception is a factor and something to think about.

    It’s one thing to use a PC-12 to move between events quickly and efficiently. It’s another thing to be flying a GV between places like DC and Richmond.
     
  20. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You mean the elected official should rub shoulders and sit in the back of a commercial airliner with his constituents? What on earth is this world coming to? :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
     
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  21. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Final Approach

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    I agree with these comments above... If the politician, or their campaign is paying for it, that's fine. The plane is a tool, like a car or campaign bus, to get around more efficiently. If the government, or someone else, is paying of it, it isn't fine.
     
  22. labbadabba

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    Actually, in this case, it's a different party doing the complaining than you might think...
     
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  23. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    IBTL

    Never really understood why attacking someone based on their financial situation became such a common tactic. Assuming the wealth was legally obtained, then don't we want to emulate the most successful members of our society?

    So what if they use or have a private airplane? Attacking someone for that just panders to the most basic of people's emotions and instincts; wealth/rich = evil. It also shows that the person being attacked for their wealth has not done a good job to cultivate their image

    Case Study Example:
    Starbucks has set themselves in a position of being socially and environmentally forward thinking and conscientious.. they're proud of their sustainability efforts, pay parity, etc. But, you have to also realize that in 2017 they paid Howard Schultz $18M.. $17,980,890.. and they have a private jet, a G650 at that, to shuttle him around in, with a rather self aggrandizing tail number of N211HS.. presumably the HS is for "Howard Shultz" - but you don't hear the SJW's vocally going after him as "no one needs that much money" or critiquing the carbon footprint of his 650. They have 238,000 employees, who earn an average of $10.50 an hr.. you could obviously pay these people more.. not necessarily by curtailing HS's salary (after all, $18M isn't THAT much), but by curtailing a number of executive benefits they could likely add $1 / $2 across the boards to the hourly rates.. but they've worked to create just enough of a socially responsible image to mitigate that. Hell, I bet I could ask 10 random people in a Starbucks who Howard Schultz is or how much he makes and no one would have any idea

    ...so, I guess my point is.. that it all comes down to the image you cultivate. If people criticize you for your money then you've done a poor job at marketing yourself. You want to market yourself such that if someone does bring up your money it will feel like an obvious cheap shot and it won't stick
     
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  24. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Ejection Handle Pulled PoA Supporter

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    What good is a tool if you don’t use it?
     
  25. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

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    It all depends.

    Are chemtrails involved?
     
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  26. weilke

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    They should be criticized for being hypocrites.
     
  27. Matthew

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    Seems a US Senator was on an RV (recreational vehicle) tour of the state for a re-election campaign recently. The PC-12 did the heavy lifting and the RV shuttled her to and from the airport. Maybe that had something to do with Flightaware blocking?
     
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  28. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    That's actually what most of them do every week. If the house is in session on a Monday, forget about getting an upgrade on the 5:38pm from MSP to DCA. Full of congress critters with million miler status.
     
  29. Half Fast

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    There's no winning. A politician gets criticized no matter what. Back when I was a kid in Florida, a politician decided to walk the state, from Pensacola to Key West, as part of his campaign for the US Senate. Naturally he was criticized for a campaign stunt.

    Walk, drive, or fly - you'll be criticized no matter what you choose. Might as well make it easy on yourself.
     
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  30. Eric Stoltz

    Eric Stoltz Line Up and Wait

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    If this was a topic in Alaska... Well, it wouldn't be, no one complains about having to fly there from here.
     
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  31. ja_user

    ja_user Pattern Altitude

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    Stop watching the Missouri ads.

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  32. flyingcheesehead

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    This "issue" is party-ambiguous. Remember the letter to the editor I talked about above? The guy who was criticized for using the plane lost. In the very next election, the guy who had been doing the criticizing, got criticized by the other party for doing exactly that which he had been critical of the previous guy for. BOTH parties love to hate airplanes, because 99.5% of people think airplanes are a wasteful excess.
     
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  33. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yes, with a bit of a caveat, as bolded below:

    So, if the election/campaign finance laws don't require you to be paid, you can't get paid (unless you're qualified to be paid regardless of your pax being a candidate, ie, you have a 135 cert).
     
  34. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Airplanes are convenient scapegoats for all sides. Pilots and other aviation enthusiasts are a very small group of voters -- no politician fears alienating them.
     
  35. SkyDog58

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    The only politicians who should be criticized for using private aircraft are the ones who gave auto maker executives a hard time for doing so.
     
  36. Salty

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    Redundant.
     
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  37. weilke

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    The fed contribution limit for an individual is $2700 per election. That's 3hrs of DOC in a borrowed PC12. Anything beyond that has to be reimbursed.
     
  38. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    This is true. Most fly regular airlines. I’ve even seen them on Southwest.
     
  39. mryan75

    mryan75 Line Up and Wait

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    No, but the system that allows this nonsense should be.
     
  40. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Remember the former Speaker of the House asking for the spare 757 for flights between DC and California?