Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) promised transparency when she took office in 2019, but now questions are mounting about her secret trip to Florida via private jet in March.
During her 2018 campaign, Whitmer proposed the “Michigan Sunshine Plan,” several points that she said would improve transparency and accountability in state government. Few, if any, of those have been adopted.
When she took office in January 2019, the new governor issued several executive orders “outlining ethical standards for public officials in her new administration,” Bridge reported at the time.
“State government must be open, transparent and accountable to Michigan taxpayers,” Whitmer said at the time. “To continue to earn public confidence, we must set good examples and act ethically at all times.”
One directive prohibited “non-classified state employees from accepting gifts.”
Whitmer was emphatic that the secret private jet trip, for which a nonprofit paid $27,521, was not “a gift.”
Breitbart News asked the State Ethics Board if it was planning to launch an investigation into Whitmer having a 501(c)(4) so-called dark money group called Michigan Transition 2019 — created for her inauguration — pay for a private jet, then claiming it was chartered, which the plane owner was authorized to do. Breitbart News was told Whitmer is not a public employee or a public officer and, therefore, the board does not have jurisdiction over Whitmer’s actions.
The State Ethics Board is chaired by Catherine McClure, a Democrat appointed by Whitmer in 2019.
“Michiganders need to trust that the decisions coming out of Lansing will protect them and their families, which is why it’s so important to have a strong State Board of Ethics,” Whitmer said in a news release.
“[Fellow appointee] Leslee [Fritz] and Catherine will ensure that our state government continues to be held to the highest ethical standards that Michigan has ever seen,” the statement read.
McClure “recently served as legal counsel and policy analyst for the Michigan Senate Democratic Caucus,” the news release said. Whitmer previously served as Senate Minority Leader.
On her LinkedIn page, she featured a photo with President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden.
Whitmer’s directives required employees to “abide by campaign finance and civil service laws and bars them from receiving political contributions on state property,” Bridge reported.
“I wholeheartedly support Governor Whitmer for sending a message and more importantly, ensuring that transparency in state government will be a top priority going forward,” Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said after Whitmer’s announcement.