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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is all about talking the talk, but does not follow his own advice. After the Associated Press obtained state records under the Freedom of Information Act, it was discovered that Cuomo used the state aircraft for personal travels.
Although Cuomo may be entitled to use the state plane, it doesn’t sit well in the state that is threatened by his office to be decimated by budget cuts. While the governor was advocating massive state cuts that would destroy education and the infrastructure, Cuomo was traveling to Westchester County to visit his girlfriend on the state’s dime.
The records show Cuomo used a state plane and helicopter to return to Westchester County at the end of statewide tours more than a dozen times from when he took office in January through June, the end of his first legislative session. The state plane was then flown from Westchester, where Cuomo lives with his girlfriend, to the capital of Albany to return the aircraft to its hangar as required.
Even though Cuomo used state aircraft far less than his predecessors, there is no record of any politicking or fundraising in the trips. According to state law, the governor is allowed to use the aircraft only for “official events.” This includes his trips Westchester home, which the Democrat lists as his official address, Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto said Saturday.
Cuomo’s girlfriend Sandra Lee owns the home, and Cuomo’s daughters live there much of the time. Cuomo himself spends far more time at the executive mansion in Albany than other recent governors.
“The governor uses the plane in furtherance of state business,” Vlasto said. “Every trip is approved by the counsel’s office and the secretary to the governor and to the extent Governor Cuomo’s use of the plane is noteworthy, it’s for its limited use and anyone familiar with the relevant law or practice would know that.It’s outrageous that due to an apparent lack of news, The Associated Press has now decided to fabricate stories.”
Even though this may be a normal and common practice, it seems to be hypocritical. At a time when politicians keep talking about “sacrifice” and “budget cuts,” it appears the only people they are talking about is the middle and lower class.
Apparently, the rich or politicians do not have to sacrifice at all. Cuomo could make the two hour drive from Westchester to Albany and it would not disrupt his life too much.