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Flying high: Daschle, Panetta on corporate jets

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By Michelle Malkin  •  March 4, 2009 09:47 AM

President Obama has made a big show of bashing corporations for their expensive jets and political junkets.

But you won’t see him wagging his finger over the passengers on this one:

Educap is a multibillion-dollar student loan charity run by CEO Catherine Reynolds. As CBS News Investigative Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reported Monday night, Educap is under investigation by the IRS and Congress for alleged abuse of its tax-exempt status because it charges high interest on charitable student loans, and provides lavish perks with millions in compensation for Reynolds and her husband.

CBS News has obtained exclusive details of what may have been the biggest charity perk: use of Educap’s $31 million luxury jet, which costs thousands of dollars an hour to operate.

Investigators say for five years, Reynolds jetted friends, family and luminaries to faraway and exotic destinations that sometimes had little to do with the charity’s mission.

CBS News has learned that high-profile names on the Educap flight list include CIA Director Leon Panetta, former Sens. Tom Daschle and Ted Stevens, former FBI Director William Sessions and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

According to flight records, Panetta and Daschle, while not in public office, accompanied Educap’s Catherine Reynolds on flights to private business meetings not related to the charity…And records show Reynolds took Chicago’s Daley and his wife on 58 flights including ones to Turkey, Asia and Sweden.

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