Authors: Jeanette Torres
(WASHINGTON) -- In the final days of a fruitful fundraising quarter, Texas Gov. Rick Perry jetted up and down the East Coast on a private plane with a troubled past.
The presidential hopeful traveled on a plane that was formerly used in a cocaine smuggling scheme, which was busted last November. An examination of flight logs shows Perry flew on the scandal-plagued plane owned by a California Mexican food conglomerate for a total of 12 flights as he attended several campaign events and fundraisers last month.
A spokesman for Perry told ABC News the campaign was unaware of the chartered plane’s previous destinations.
“We were chartering a plane and not aware of any of the plane’s previous flights,” Mark Miner said in an e-mail.
The flight logs reveal that between Sept. 26 and Oct. 1, Perry flew on the plane to Baltimore; Teterboro, N.J.; Washington Dulles International Airport; Memphis, Tenn.; Nashville, Tenn.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Wheeling, W.Va. and Dekalb, Ga. -- all located near fundraisers, which helped Perry net the $17 million he raised in the third fundraising quarter.
Perry also used the chartered plane to fly to New Hampshire, where he participated in two town halls, a meet-and-greet, a chili cook-off and a house party hosted by New Hampshire kingmaker Ovide Lamontagne. Perry then flew on the plane back to Austin, Texas before using it again to fly to California for more fundraisers.
News of Perry’s use of the plane linked to a drug smuggling ring was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, and it's just one in a series of controversial plane stories emerging this week for the Perry campaign.
Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that Perry underpaid a Texas businessman who provided his jet to the Perry campaign in the last fundraising quarter; the campaign paid only for the seats used by the campaign, not the equivalent of the full cost of a chartered flight.
On Wednesday, the campaign told The New York Times they will reimburse owners of the private planes for the proper amount -- a total that could equal “five figures.”
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