FactCheck.org: Kinder Ad "Clearly Not True"

Posted yesterday on FactCheck.org's Spin Detectors blog

In a campaign-funded radio ad to Missouri voters, Rush Limbaugh claimed the state’s lieutenant governor “banned taxpayer-funded travel for politicians” when he led the state Senate. Not really.

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who is Limbaugh’s friend, spearheaded a moratorium on paying travel expenses for state senators, not all “politicians.” The ban affected only out-of-state travel and failed to affect taxpayer-funded travel within Missouri, which is a far greater cost.

Furthermore, the ban expired after one year.

Kinder’s campaign told us that he had banned out-of-state travel for politicians during his time in the Senate. It’s true that legislators’ out-of-state travel expenses plummeted under Kinder. But the expenses failed to disappear altogether. State representatives — not affected by the Senate ban — continued to spend tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on trips outside Missouri...

We found no evidence that Kinder’s rule saved $800,000. In fact, out-of state travel expenses for both senators and representatives totaled about $250,000 in 2002, Kinder’s first full fiscal year as Senate president.

We did find a significant drop in out-of-state travel expenses. They fell to $40,000 in 2004, Kinder’s last full fiscal year. That’s a decrease of more than $200,000, or 84 percent.

And senators spent practically nothing on out-of-state travel in 2004, expensing less than $400. That’s strong evidence of Kinder’s moratorium — on senators.

State representatives, however, continued to travel outside Missouri that year, billing taxpayers nearly $40,000.

Let’s go back to Limbaugh’s claim that Kinder “banned taxpayer-funded travel for politicians.” That’s clearly not true if you look at in-state travel costs, which changed little during Kinder’s tenure and dwarfed out-of-state expenses.

Missouri lawmakers spent $1.85 million on travel within Missouri in 2002 and $1.8 million in 2004. Those figures include expenses for commercial transit, lodging, meals, and a legislative allowance.

 

 

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