Audit: Missouri lacked justification for new Missouri Highway Patrol airplane

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A new audit questions whether Missouri officials were justified in buying a $5.6 million airplane that is frequently used by Gov. Jay Nixon.

A report released Tuesday by Auditor Tom Schweich says the Missouri State Highway Patrol did not do a formal written analysis before purchasing the plane last December. The audit contends Missouri's existing passenger planes were already underutilized.

The patrol disputes that. The law enforcement agency says it did a thorough analysis before buying the new King Air 250. It says the plane was needed because the requests for flights from other state entities exceeded its supply of planes.

Records obtained by The Associated Press show that Nixon was the only elected state official to use the new plane during the first three months of this year.

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