Questions Arise Over Funding for Governor Sanders’ Lavish Super Bowl Trip

(White House)

Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders recently attended Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas with her family, sparking curiosity about the funding of their high-end experience. The event, known for its exorbitant costs, saw Sanders and her family enjoying luxury VIP box seats and exclusive interactions with celebrities, including Chiefs star Travis Kelce, and a close view of Usher’s halftime performance.

The detailed investigation by Talking Points Memo (TPM) into the potential costs of such an extravagant outing suggested that the expenses far exceeded Sanders’ official annual earnings, both as governor and as the former White House press secretary under Donald Trump.

Las Vegas ticket broker Ken Solky estimated the VIP box seats’ value at about $37,500 per person, with additional special event passes ranging between $3,000 and $10,000 each. Considering these figures, the total cost for the Sanders family’s Super Bowl experience could easily surpass $202,000, raising questions about the source of funding.

The governor’s salary, capped at $160,000, and her previous salary of $165,000, make it improbable that the trip was self-financed. The ambiguity surrounding whether the tickets were gifted or funded by taxpayers adds to the speculation, especially since travel and security expenses for the governor are shielded from public scrutiny under the state’s revised Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) laws.

“It definitely looks like a suite,” Solky told TPM when viewing the images Sanders posted. “[N]ot just a suite but a pretty damn good suite.”

These changes to FOIA were pushed through by Sanders herself in a special legislative session aimed at limiting transparency, especially following controversies over office expenditures. A notable piece of evidence found by TPM was a photograph of Sanders in a VIP box with Tavia Hunt, a significant GOP donor, and wife of Kansas City Chiefs co-owner Clark Hunt.

This connection suggests the possibility of the trip being a gift, which would necessitate disclosure due to its potential implications as a gesture from an out-of-state interest seeking favor with the Arkansas governor. The true nature of how Sanders managed this lavish Super Bowl outing remains veiled in secrecy, prompting further scrutiny of the intersection of political influence and personal benefits.

“If you’re in a luxury suite, it would be the highest face price ticket to the event,” Graham Sloan, the director of the Arkansas Ethics Commission, told TPM.

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