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Dayton to repay $1,688 after using state plane to attend 'political' events

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Governor Mark Dayton will pay back money to the state after it was found he wrongly used the state airplane for two trips that were deemed "political" in nature.

The airplane is for state business only, but Minnesota's legislative auditor found that on two occasions in October of 2013, Dayton attended side events that "appeared to be political."

These were two American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees conventions, MPR reports, where the union's endorsement of his re-election campaign was brought up.

The events were in Duluth and Grand Rapids, and the Star Tribune reports that during the same trip, Dayton also visited Brainerd and Mankato, which the audit said did involve official state business.

According to the audit report, the newspaper said Dayton addressed "several key campaign issues" at the AFSCME conventions, including "raising taxes on the rich and increasing the minimum wage."

Dayton's office disagreed with the audit's finding, the Pioneer Press reports, but his Chief of Staff Jaime Tincher said that the "Mark Dayton for a Better Minnesota" campaign committee will reimburse the state $1,688.

It's not the first time that Dayton has run into trouble with auditors over his use of the state plane.

In January of 2014, a report from the legislative auditor found that Dayton had used the plane to fly to a handful of locations in the run-up to the 2012 election during which time he combined official state business with political events.

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