North Carolina governor Mike Easley has some explainin' to do:
Gov. Mike Easley [a Democrat, incidentally] on Tuesday defended overseas cultural exchange trips led by his wife that cost taxpayers $109,000, saying such visits can reap exponentially larger monetary rewards for the state with art exhibits.
Mary Easley, an executive assistant and a Highway Patrol trooper traveled to France in May 2007, while the first lady and state arts leaders also went to Russia and Estonia in May this year.
For the France trip, taxpayers paid more than $27,000 for the chauffeured Mercedes sport utility vehicle that Mary Easley used, according to The News & Observer of Raleigh, which first reported on the expenses.
Another $8,900 was paid to the first lady, the assistant and a state highway patrol trooper, who provided security, to stay in a hotel and participate in a Monet-themed tour.