June 13, 2024

Sinema Spent More Than $200,000 of Taxpayer Funds on Private Jets: Report

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema applauds during President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address during a joint meeting of Congress in the House Chamber of the US Capitol on February 07, 2023, in Washington, DC.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

  • Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has spent more than $200,000 of taxpayer cash on private jet travel.
  • It’s not illegal for her to do so; senators are allotted around $4 million each year for the office.
  • She’s also spent thousands of dollars in campaign cash on travel and lodging in places she competed.

Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has spent more than $200,000 of her congressional office budget on private jet travel, according to a new report from The Daily Beast.

By adding up the amount of money Sinema has spent on chartered flights as published in the semiannual “Report of the Secretary of the Senate,” the publication found she’s paid travel companies around $210,000 since 2020, a year after she began her time in Congress.

As a member of the Senate, via the Senators’ Official Personnel and Office Expense Account, Sinema is granted around $4 million each fiscal year to spend on paying her staff, transporting herself to and from her home in Arizona, supplies, and any other work expenses.

As The Daily Beast noted, senators have very few restrictions on allocating their yearly office allowance; there’s nothing illegal about Sinema spending more than her yearly salary on private jet travel over the past four years.

Nevertheless, Sinema’s spending on chartered flights isn’t the first time she’s circumvented personally paying luxurious travel expenses. In May 2023, The Daily Beast reported she spent significant amounts of campaign cash on flights and lodging in areas of the country where she competed in various marathons and triathlons without repercussion.

Sinema’s reasoning for using private flights may be to avoid wasting time, as the original report noted, but another reason is just as possible: personal safety.

In 2021, as she opposed President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan, protesters ambushed the senator in the bathroom at Arizona State University, where she teaches courses on social and public policy.

Additionally, she’s spent more than $560,000 on personal security using campaign funds during her time in office, more than the vast majority of members of Congress spend on it.

Outside her congressional duties, Sinema’s currently campaigning for a second term in office, though she’s running this time as an independent rather than on the Democratic ticket. In November, she’ll likely face off against former gubernatorial Republican candidate Kari Lake, and Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego.

Representatives from Sinema’s office did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

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