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Commentary: Flying the Lt. Gov. across state for coin flip sure seems like a cavalier use of taxpayer resources

North Dakota Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford looks out his office's window at the state Capitol Thursday, Jan. 26 2017. (Photo by John Hageman)

Last year Governor Doug Burgum found himself mired in criticism from my self and others stemming from his decision to accept a roughly $40,000 trip to the Super Bowl paid for by Xcel Energy, one of the largest utilities operating in our state.

That situation called into question Burgum’s discretion when it comes to what behavior is appropriate for someone in his office. So much so that State Auditor Josh Gallion, also a Republican, launched an investigation into the finances of the Governor’s office (something which has earned him enmity from some Republicans in the state).

Today my colleague John Hageman has some details of that review, and so far they aren’t flattering for Burgum’s office.

For one thing, per Hageman’s numbers, the use of state airplanes for travel was up more than 20 percent during the first year of Burgum’s time in office as compared to the heaviest year of use by his predecessor Jack Dalrymple.