December 18-20, three weeks before the end of her term, Morris headed to Washington, D.C., for a series of secretive meetings. On her expense report, Morris argues that flying would have cost the same as driving by the time she paid for plane tickets and airport transportation. So the Travelocity-challenged Morris drove from her home in St. Francis to the nation's capital and back.
The 3,036-mile trip cost Kansans $1,305.48 in mileage alone.
Morris was kind enough not to charge taxpayers for hotel stays along the way. (The Department of Burnt Ends wonders if she donned a diaper, astronaut-style, and drove straight through.) After accommodations and meals in D.C., Kansans forked out $2,339.13 for her trip.
It was the second time that Morris' travel budget had reached rock-star levels. In April 2005, Morris attended a magnet-school conference in Miami and stuck Kansans with a $2,034 bill for a six-night stay at an ocean-view suite surely worthy of Shaq himself. After public outcry over her swanky taste, Morris ended up reimbursing the state for the expenses in August 2005, but not without claiming to be the victim of media bullying.
And from the sounds of Morris' expense report, this won't be her political swan song. Morris writes that the point of her trip was to attend several unnamed meetings about topics such as judicial activism and "what is being done to expose/correct" the media's bias. (Here at Burnt Ends, we'd argue that our anti-Morris bias doesn't need correcting.)
She ended the explanation of the charges with this: "All Kansans, not just us Westerners, can be assured I plan to continue working with others in many arenas to help us become greater than ever!"
Sounds like Morris is looking ahead to more taxpayer-funded trips.