Non-partisan ethics watchdog American Oversight today launched an investigation following reports that Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price spent tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money on a series of private jet flights over a three day stretch in September.
“How times have changed. As a member of Congress Secretary Price called congressional spending on private planes ‘fiscal irresponsibility run amok.’ Yet today, the secretary sees no irony in wasting untold taxpayer dollars on frivolous private jet travel while simultaneously claiming health insurance for working Americans is a cost the federal government cannot afford,” said American Oversight Executive Director Austin Evers. “It appears these flights may be just the tip of the iceberg, so American Oversight is going to dig in to see how else Secretary Price is living large at Americans’ expense.”
A report in POLITICO found that Secretary Price took five charter jet flights over the course of a three-day period in September, with a total cost likely in the tens of thousands of dollars, even though numerous cheaper commercial travel options were available. The report also indicates that Price has regularly traveled on private jets throughout his tenure at HHS, despite previously having railed against the use of such transportation for government officials when he was a member of Congress.
In response, American Oversight is submitting Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to HHS requesting all records pertaining to Secretary Price’s use of private jets, including a comprehensive list of flights, total costs, manifests and official justifications.
Evers continued, “From Secretary Mnuchin to Secretary Price, it’s become clear that candidate Trump’s refrain of ‘drain the swamp’ has morphed into ‘pigs at the trough.’”
American Oversight had previously called for an investigation into Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s frequent taxpayer-funded travel home to Oklahoma.
Part of Investigation: