Following a gruesome, horrific, and tragic shooting in Florida earlier this month, people around the country started to question the blind loyalty many have to the National Rifle Association. This includes a boycott of companies that affiliate with the NRA.
Two of the bigger companies that were being boycotted were Delta and United Airlines. In response to the threat of boycott and the NRA’s continued opposition to things as simple as background checks or banning bump stocks, United and Delta both cut ties with the NRA.
This upset Senator Steve Daines. The brave Senator proudly took to twitter to declare he was standing with the NRA and was willing to sacrifice his plush “diamond” status (whatever the hell that is) to show his solidarity with a group who thinks arming two-years away from retirement Mrs. O’Keefe with a Glock is a better solution than closing the gun-show loophole.
Daines rightfully got raked over the coals on twitter.
The Great Falls Tribune even did a story about our viral (in a bad way like shingles not in a good way like cute cat videos) Senator.
But what this story doesn’t point out is the incredible cost to the taxpayer Daines butt-kissing to the NRA will incur. Anyone who flies to the east coast from Montana knows Delta is 9/10 your cheapest option. The other one time it is United.
So now that Senator Daines stands with the NRA rather than any semblance of fiscal conservatism during taxpayer-funded travel let’s look and see just how much this stunt will cost us.
I tried to crunch the numbers.
On an average week, Senator Daines needs to be in Washington DC from Monday through Friday. Then presumably he will come to Montana and hide out from his constituents. Then he fly’s back to DC Monday morning to be back in time to vote on the Senate floor.
If Senator Daines needs to be back in DC by 5 pm ET on Monday March 5th, let’s look at the options for flying.
According to the Google Flights, the cheapest flight on March 5th that gets Daines in DC on the right day and time is $318–not bad. But it is Delta so Daines can’t fly on it.
When you remove United and Delta from the search though you run into some trouble.
The only thing that meets our criteria would force Daines to fly from Kalispell–a mere 5 hour drive for Daines in the morning from his home in Bozeman–at 6 a.m. MT.
Oh, also the flight is $1,386. So if Senator Daines follows through on his pledge to stand with the NRA and not fly Delta or United he will miss his votes, charge the taxpayer an additional $1,068 for his stunt. That’s just for next week.
I know what you are thinking, “of course it’s going to be super hard to find a perfect flight one week away.” Okay, just for kicks let’s project out to April.
Presumably Daines will be traveling in Montana during the April recess. That means he needs to be back in DC by Monday May 7th by 5 pm ET.
Daines can get a cheap flight for as low as $167. All Montanans know that’s a hell of a deal! Oh wait, it’s on Delta…
The only flight that works for Daines into town on time is over $500 more expensive. And this is 3 months out.
So due to Daines’ undying fealty to the NRA he will either have to spend less time with his constituents (probably what he wants anyway) by flying out a day early or spend more taxpayer dollar for less efficient flights (not very conservative if you ask me). All this just to kiss the ring of the NRA? Seems a bit much.
I wonder how Daines is going to get to and from Washington without two major airlines? Guess we will see and feel it in our wallets.