Well, it turns out that there is naught to fear, gentle reader. Scott Walker has removed any ethics concerns about using tax payer dollars for this ride.
Instead, he has flown face first into a greater ethics problem.
Last week, Xoff made mention that Walker now has two sponsors for his bike ride: Air Tran and ChooseMilwaukee.com are going to pick up the tab. Xoff cites a blogpost in the local paper's website on June 11th as the initial source of information.
In his post, Xoff also raises some interesting points and questions such as who gets the naming rights; that Walker's secretary is handling the coordination, but is only using her personal email and phone number; that ChooseMilwaukee.com is a branch of the MMAC; and whether Air Tran and ChooseMilwaukee.com will also be picking up the salaries of Walker and the staffers that will be going along for the ride.
Then he hits closer to home than he realizes with this:
AirTran, incidentally, has just a small business relationship with Milwaukee County, which owns Mitchell Field, where AirTran operates. See any possible ethical conflict there?Actually it is more than that.
Air Tran was recently attempting to get expanded space at Mitchell Airport. This matter was in front of the Milwaukee County Board's Transit Committee on March 4, 2009. It was approved unanimously (pdf, item #8, top of page 5).
The proposal then was approved by the entire board on March 21st.
Sometime between March 21st and May 21st, when Air Tran announced their expansion at Mitchell International Airport, it had crossed Walker's desk and he signed off on it.
Now, just weeks after Air Tran's announcement of their benefit from their business with the county, it is also announced that they are picking up the tab for Walker's campaign ride.
That little stunt flies in the face of the Milwaukee County Code of Ethics. In fact, from the Milwaukee Code of General Ordinances, section 9.05(2)(a) strictly forbids an elected official to gain from or accept any financial gain or anything else of substantial value for personal benefit or for the benefit of any family member or organization they may belong to. That would include Walker and his governor's campaign.
*And yes, I really, really wanted to title this post "Weasels On A Plane."