The State Owned Airplane Again

Governor Rounds had his hand slapped by voters in 2006 for using the state owned airplane for personal use and now the federal government might be looking into the purchase of that airplane.

Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., sent the request Friday to the inspector general of Amtrak, the nation’s passenger railroad system.

South Dakota used money from the federal railroad agency to replenish the state aeronautics fund after buying the $1.5 million aircraft.

States without Amtrak rail service got a one-time payment from the agency in 1997; South Dakota got $23 million. The money initially could be spent only on intercity bus and rail service, but that was expanded in 1998 to include air service centers and “the purchase of intercity air service between primary and rural airports and regional hubs.”

Oberstar’s letter states that the airplane purchase was “in violation of the express purposes for the funding.”

This quote from the article was a bit curious.

State Sen. Jason Gant said the Government Operations and Audit Committee, which he leads, had found nothing improper in spending from the aeronautics fund. But he had “no idea” whether the spending violated federal law.

So as an auditor he is unaware if the federal money spent by South Dakota violated federal law? Wouldn’t you think that should have been investigated at some point considering the source of the funds?

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