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Loeffler Said Her Private Jet Saved Taxpayers Money. It Didn’t.

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When former Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) was asked on the 2020 campaign trail about the recently purchased private jet she was flying around Georgia, the former CEO and multimillionaire senator defended the expense as saving taxpayer dollars.

But previously unreported corporate filings reveal something that Loeffler’s campaign disclosures did not: She was paying her husband’s company to operate the jet. And, according to experts, those campaign filings might not have been correctly reported, raising questions of whether she purposefully concealed the arrangement from the public.

It’s similarly unclear whether the private flights actually did save taxpayers money. That’s because the jet—a 2010 Bombardier Challenger 300, which goes for around $10 million—qualified for a huge tax write-off.

Instead of saving taxpayer dollars on public flights, Loeffler was using an expensive private jet and, ultimately, saving money for her husband’s company.

In essence, Loeffler was paying herself to use the jet, billing taxpayers for the plane, and, at best, obscuring the payments—and, at worst, just lying about them.

The tangle of interests suggests the picture of a financial undertow, a replenishing cash flow hidden below the surface. Experts say it’s the kind of feedback loop that financial disclosure laws are specifically designed to reveal.

Jordan Libowitz, the communications director for government watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said that while it isn’t strange for Loeffler to own a plane, the reported payment structure is oddly opaque.

Loeffler on Jan. 6, 2021.

“It’s not unusual for candidates to have their own plane, due to the fact that many people both in and running for office are already millionaires,” Libowitz told The Daily Beast. “We’ve seen over the years quite a few different situations involving personal planes showing up in FEC reports, but we also always see the disclosure of it. That’s what the reports are for, disclosing how money is raised and spent.”

According to Federal Election Commission filings, Loeffler—whose husband Jerry Sprecher chairs the New York Stock Exchange—personally footed around $700,000 for campaign travel expenses in 2020. The campaign reported all of them, correctly, as in-kind donations from the candidate.

Those campaign filings, however, only show her personal expenditure. They don’t include the recipient. And that recipient turns out to be highly pertinent information; the payments went to her husband’s company—financial giant Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), which operated the aircraft and counted it among its corporate pool.

According to ICE’s official shareholder statement for FY2020, on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company had that year entered a private agreement with the couple.

The document discloses “the inclusion of a private aircraft owned by Mr. Sprecher and his wife, Kelly Loeffler,” which the company incorporated to “the pool of aircraft managed by a majority owned ICE subsidiary.”

Over the course of 2020, the statement says, Sprecher and Loeffler—a........

© The Daily Beast

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