Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 7.54.43 AMJust in case you still had any lingering doubt about how members of Congress see themselves, and the lack of any sort of respect they have for taxpayer dollars, you need to look no further than Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia.

Despite an estimated net worth of over $100 million, the Senator chooses to fly by private plane whenever he returns to his home state and makes sure taxpayers foot the bill. As a result, he spends thousands of taxpayer dollars per visit, while a round-trip commercial ticket would only cost $200. This allows him to rack up one of the most expensive travel budgets in the Senate, even though he visits his home state less than often than almost ever other member of Congress (despite how close West Virginia is to the capitol).

To further rub salt in the wounds of the sucker taxpayer public, he even expenses minor incidentals like a bill for only $12.75. Oh, and naturally he is the “chairman of the Senate committee with jurisdiction over transportation issues.”

Classy guy.

The Washington Examiner reports that:

Sen. Jay Rockefeller comes from one of America’s wealthiest families and represents a state only 60 miles from the District of Columbia, yet he travels home almost exclusively via private charter plane at $4,400 per trip and sends the bill to taxpayers.

There are as many as six commercial flights a day between D.C. and Charleston, W.Va., the city Rockefeller flies to and from. A round-trip ticket for the one-hour flight costs as little as $206.

Rockefeller’s aversion to traveling as most other Americans do may be somewhat ironic, as he is chairman of the Senate committee with jurisdiction over transportation issues.

But Rockefeller also left his Capitol Hill trappings to mingle with West Virginia residents fewer than 11 times per year, even though his home state is only an hour away.

That means Rockefeller goes home less often than nearly every other member of Congress, yet his total travel costs are among the highest, all despite representing a state that on a clear day can almost be seen from the Capitol dome.

Rockefeller’s 32 trips in the past three years cost taxpayers $141,408 for the chartered aircraft. Meanwhile, 40 members of his staff traveled back and forth regularly for less than half that price, combined. The records don’t indicate whether the staffers drove or flew.

He owns a palatial mansion worth an estimated $18 million and built on one of the largest housing tracts in the District — 16 acres cordoned off by razor wire and nearly surrounded by parkland in one of the city’s most desirable neighborhoods, Crestwood, near Rock Creek Park.

It has “11 bathrooms on one floor alone,” the Philadelphia Inquirer noted when Rockefeller bought the estate in 1986.

Meanwhile, the state he represents in the U.S. Senate is one of the poorest in the country, with per capita annual income of $22,000, census figures show.

He has an estimated net worth of more than $100 million, making him the nation’s third-richest senator after Democratic Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Despite his wealth, Rockefeller not only bills taxpayers for the private plane, he charges them for expenses as small as $12.75 while he is “in and around Charleston.”

The Examiner asked a spokeswoman for Rockefeller why the senator insisted on traveling on private planes; why he didn’t foot the bill for that preference out of his own pocket; and why he didn’t set foot in the state he represents more often. The spokeswoman did not respond.

I have highlighted Jay Rockefeller previously, in the post: Congress Can’t Pass a Bill? No Problem! Obama Can Just Sign an Executive Order. He’s also the guy who lamented the creation of the internet!

How this guy can claim to “represent” anybody is beyond me.

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger