Robin Vos, the speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly, used money paid by the taxpayers to charter a state airplane in February 2017. The aircraft flew him and two other GOP lawmakers to Ohio. Accompanying the lawmakers on the phone were five staff members. The purpose of the trip was to play host to a news conference. This flight came four months post a Vos-controlled campaign committee receiving $15,000 from a donor in Ohio. The said donor was close to Cliff Rosenberger, the then-Speaker of the Ohio Assembly. Rosenberger later resigned in April after his lavish lifestyle was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
When questioned, Vos denied being contacted by FBI. He declined to reply to questions concerning his reasons for utilizing taxpayer money to fund the $4,312 flight. Kit Beyer, his spokesperson, also did not answer the questions pertaining to the subject but spoke freely about what was discussed in the meeting.
The flight was unusual, to say the least. Records available in public domain show that lawmakers in Wisconsin used state aircraft a total of five times during the January 2017 to March 2017 period. Vos' trip was the only time the aircraft flew out of the state. The aircraft in question is generally utilized by governors and other associated office holders to fly inside the Wisconsin state to promote government agendas. Lawmakers are occasionally taken by the governor when the person flies around the state in order to promote a specific policy initiative. The Vos trip did not fall into this category.
Purpose of the trip
Vos was accompanied by Representative Mike Rohrkaste, a Republican elected from Neenah, and Representative Tyler Vorpagel, elected Republican from Plymouth, and all from Wisconsin, stood with Rosenberger and other Ohio lawmakers at a February 2017 news conference. There were discussions about how GOP leaders from both the states will learn from each other as they got ready for the changes in how the President Donald Trump-led federal government deals with the states.
Beyer said that there is a coordinated effort to give the states increased power via National Council of State Legislatures. The work to this effect also started at that meeting. According to Vos, Rosenberger was studying Wisconsin's bipartisan task forces in a proposed legislation to combat opioid addictions and Alzheimer's disease. The successful Wisconsin model has become an inspiration for other states, including Ohio.