The Democrat-Gazette today followed up on Air Huckabee and reported that the use of the State Police plane by Gov. Mike Huckabee and his wife dropped some in 2006, though it's still huge.
Questions lingering: Why should the plane EVER be used for flights only for the first lady, who is not an elected official and has no statutory duties or powers? Why is Charles Robinson of legislative audit set to kiss off careful accounting of the plane's use by a governor? Other states carefully allocate costs and require a demonstration of public duty when the plane is used. In South Dakota, voters have just outlawed the use of the plane by the governor altogether because he did what the circumstantial evidence suggests Huckabee has done -- find some nominally office-related appearance (an awards ceremony, say), then work in a number of personal or political uses around it.
The argument is much like that over legislative wining and dining. It would be just too hard to keep records, lobbyists and legislators complain. Too hard to account. People would try to cheat anyway. Under that theory, there should be no income tax either. The easiest course is always 1) to pay your own way in all things and 2) provide total and complete transparency on use of public funds and resources when you don't. The Huckabees have failed miserably on both counts.
As Warwick said of the coming administration, "Mr. Beebe -- go to China." Confound the skeptics and do the unexpected, Gov. Beebe. Promote accountable government, shorn of largely secret special perks for elected officials and of influence-peddling through lobbyist entertainment.