American Oversight today sued the Trump administration to determine whether and to what extent the president’s daughter and son-in-law invited Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on trips so that they could travel on Air Force planes.
According to reports from the New York Times and author and journalist Vicky Ward, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner regularly requested to fly on Air Force planes even when their presence was unnecessary or inappropriate. According to Ward, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson rejected many of these requests — prompting the couple to invite cabinet officials along, often Mnuchin.
In April, American Oversight filed a Freedom of Information Act request for communications from Mnuchin and the couple related to their presence on military aircraft, including invitations for Mnuchin to accompany them. The Treasury Department’s failure to provide records in response to the request has prompted today’s lawsuit.
American Oversight has been investigating Trump administration officials’ high-priced travel at taxpayer expense, from the use of chartered planes for official travel to the use of military aircraft for personal use. In 2017, Tom Price resigned as secretary of health and human services after it was revealed he’d spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on government-chartered jets, and later [that year], Mnuchin took a military jet to see the solar eclipse. As the official roles of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner in the White House remain murky, whether and how the couple has taken advantage of public service remains just as important to clarify.
“Members of the first family have consistently used the trappings of the White House as personal status symbols,” said Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight. “Whether they are inserting themselves into meetings with world leaders or seeking joyrides on military vehicles, the public has a right to know if Jared and Ivanka are abusing their proximity to power for personal satisfaction.”
American Oversight’s complaint is available below:
Part of Investigation: