MSNBC host Ed Schultz, who has repeatedly criticized opponents for owning private jets, owns multiple private jets and conceals his flight data from the public.
Schultz owns Ed Schultz Broadcasting, LLC and has owned at least three Cessnas and one Piper. Schultz has owned two Cessna 560s, which typically sell for more than $5 million per plane. (He sold one plane—tail number N421LT — to Lakin Tire West Incorporated in 2011). Schultz also owns one Cessna 208B which is worth over $1.5 million. He also owns a Piper Cheyenne turboprop, estimated at more than $2 million.
Those hefty price tags don’t include the salaries of the two pilots, the fuel, or the maintenance costs. It costs more than $1,295 per hour to operate a Cessna 560, making it one of the more expensive private jets.
Nor do we know where one of Schulz’s planes — his Cessna 560, tail number N469ES — actually goes. Schulz has been given special permission not to reveal his flight routes.
In early 2011, the Department of Transportation required private plane owners to reveal their flight information to the general public. The registration number, flight, path, departure point, destination, and flight length of private planes are now accessible to the public — unless operators and owners send the Federal Aviation Administration “written certification” that that data would create a security threat. The Department of Transportation later reversed itself in late 2011 and allowed any operator to block that information.
We don’t know if Schulz restricted his flight information out of concern for personal safety or because he wanted to keep his privacy. His office did not return an email request for comment.
In any event, at the same time that Schultz has flown around on his private plane, both Schulz and his guests have criticized private plane use over the years.
“If you look at the agenda that the Democrats have got on the table, it is, you know, they’re – all of these issues are polling favorably. This is what the American people want,” Schultz told Larry King in 2007 “They want stem cell research. They want federal funding for it. They want minimum wage. They want border protection. You know, they want ethics reform – no more corporate jets, no more golf trips.”
The Ed Show guests shared Schultz’s antipathy.
“Why should a guy that is a billionaire get a tax break for his private new jet? Why can he get a tax break because he can hide his money in the Cayman Islands”? asked United Steelworkers rep Leo Gerard on “The Ed Show” on March 1, 2013.
On September 20, 2011 Schultz criticized Fox News hosts like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, saying, “It’s really easy to go buy any house you want, depending on how you want to live, eat in the finest restaurants and fly on private jets.”
In early 2012, The Daily Caller revealed that Schultz had received more than $330,000 over seven years from organized labor. (Related: Labor Dept. documents: MSNBC’s Ed Schultz on labor union payrolls since 2005)
Those payments have continued. The conservative website Truth Revolt reported this week that Schultz’s company received $177,000 in 2012 and $75,000 in 2013 from unions, including auto workers who benefited from a public bailout that ended in a taxpayer loss of more than $10 billion.
All told, Schulz could only fly for 195 hours in his Cessna 560 using the money he received from union dues. Average annual dues for the United Auto Workers (UAW) are $675 for a veteran auto worker, according to Reuters. That’s less than half of what it costs Schulz to fly in one of his private jets for one hour.
The average pay for a starting United Auto Workers member per hour is $15.78 per hour. It would take 82 first time auto workers to pay for just one hour of flight.