In the particular wake of Health and Human Providers Secretary Tom Priceâs Sept. 29 resignation over his use of personal jets paid for by the government, some other executive branch chiefs are below scrutiny over their travel agreements.
The Washington Post reported Thursday night that Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao used government planes on 7 trips this year, with the jets usually costing taxpayers about $5, 000 per hour to operate. According to Chaoâs spokesperson, the Transportation Departmentâs ethics lawyer had approved the private plane tickets, and Chao had predominantly already been flying on commercial airlines.
The Chao news came on the same day time that the Treasury Department issued the review of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchinâs $800, 000 bill for making use of government planes. Mnuchin took personal flights eight times and withdrew a ninth request to use 1 on a trip to Europe with his spouse. The Treasuryâs internal counsel discovered nothing illegal about Mnuchinâs plane tickets but questioned the justification to them.
âWhat is of concern is a disconnect between the standard of proof called for,â wrote Rich Delmar, lawyer for the Office of the Inspector Common for the Treasury, âand the actual amount of proof provided by Treasury and accepted by the White House in justifying these trip requests.â
Price resigned right after it was revealed he had spent over $1 million in taxpayer funds upon private air travel. The trips integrated a flight from Washington, G. C., to Philadelphia and a trip to Nashville, where Price did 90 minutes of work and had an extensive lunch with his son. Price situated himself as a budget hawk throughout his time in Congress, criticizing Democrats for wasteful spending and assaulting then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on her use of a private plane.
Following Priceâs resignation, a memo was delivered to executive departments requiring approval simply by White House chief of employees John Kelly for all noncommercial take a trip.
âGovernment-owned, rented, leased, or chartered aircraft should not be used for travel by Government employees except with specific justification,â wrote Mick Mulvaney, movie director of the Office of Management plus Budget.
Earlier this week Reuters documented that Energy Secretary Rick Perry took a private flight to Kansas the day before Mulvaney issued the brand new policy. Interior Secretary Ryan Spitze is under investigation by their departmentâs own inspector general for any $12, 375 private flight through Las Vegas to his home condition of Montana. Before the investigation has been announced, Zinke had dismissed queries about the flight as âa little BS over travel.â Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, provides spent nearly $60, 000 upon private flights. The EPA has additionally spent nearly $25, 000 in the construction of a secure phone presentation area for Pruittâs office.
The Wa Post reported last week that Experienced Affairs Secretary David Shulkin invested half of a 10-day European vacation this summer sightseeing. Per the Blog post, the overseas jaunt took place lower than two weeks after he signed the memo instructing top VA staffers to determine whether âemployee travel in their organization is essential.â In the wake up of the report, the VA declared that the agency will begin posting information on the secretaryâs travel online, which includes itineraries and theÂ disclosure of any kind of use of government or private airplane.