Matt Blunt, whose road to the governor's office was paved by the pro-voucher group All Children Matter, took his victory lap across the state for his MOHELA plan recently, including a stop in Joplin, with a plane provided by millionaire insurance executive and public school critic Charles Sharpe of Belton, according to Democratic Party research reported on by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Jo Mannies:
The Missouri Democratic Party says the plane belongs to Charles Sharpe, a millionaire insurance executive and the founder of Heartland Christian Academy, a strict teen reform residential program in Belton, Mo. Sharpe also has been a vocal critic of public schools. Blunt's staff neither confirms nor denies who owns the plane.
An Internet site that tracks private plane flights shows that the travels of Sharpe's plane mesh with Blunt's MOHELA stops.
Tracking plane flights has gotten a lot of mileage from both state parties. The state Republican Party has been monitoring the planes used by U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and no doubt is watching the aircraft used by Blunt's announced Democratic rival in 2008, Attorney General Jay Nixon.
The elimination of Missouri's campaign donation limits means that no politician has to pay to use private planes. They can simply report the cost of the planes as an in-kind campaign donation.
Since his election as governor, Blunt has paid for his travel out of his campaign funds, rather than the state treasury.