LG candidate Jones didn’t report private campaign flights in disclosures

A Republican candidate for lieutenant governor has been using his family’s private plane as he crisscrosses the state to attend some of his campaign events.

But campaign finance documents recently filed by Burt Jones, a state senator from Jackson, don’t show any record of those flights or report the expenses.

When contacted by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jones’ spokesman said the campaign’s intent is to pay one large lump sum after the primary for all the flights taken during the primary campaign season.

That doesn’t appear to be allowed under state campaign finance laws. State law says candidates “must disclose (expenses made) on the campaign contribution disclosure Report due for the reporting period in which the flight occurred.”

Officials with the state ethics commission said they had no comment.

But in general, expenses and in-kind contributions — when someone donates items or services to a candidate — have to be reported when they’re made. Both have to be disclosed regularly on periodic campaign reports that are required by law.

Jones’ spokesman declined to comment further.

Between Feb. 2 and May 9, flights recorded by private jet tracking websites suggest that at least eight one-way flights corresponded to campaign events Jones posted on his Twitter account.

For example, on Feb. 24 the plane flew roundtrip from Atlanta Motor Speedway to Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport. The next day, Jones posted photos on Twitter with U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker from a Savannah meet-and-greet, saying, “Awesome day yesterday in Savannah for a meet-and-greet with great some (sic) Georgia patriots — and even ran into a fellow UGA player out on the trail…”

As of April 30, Jones reported raising about $4.1 million in contributions, including $2 million he loaned his campaign. Jones said he had spent about $3.7 million by the filing date and had about $321,000 in cash on hand.

Jones, who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, is facing his colleague, Senate President Pro Tem Butch Miller of Gainesville, as well as first-time candidate Mack McGregor of Lafayette and GOP activist Jeanne Seaver of Savannah in the Republican primary next week.