U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is now the second member of Trump’s Cabinet to find himself under investigation for wasting taxpayer money on private jets, a possible violation of federal law:
A spokeswoman for HHS Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson told The Washington Post on Friday that the agency will request records of Price’s travel and review the justification made by Price and his staff for the trips, which reportedly cost taxpayers a combined $300,000.
House Democrats wrote to Levinson, an appointee of President George W. Bush, on Wednesday requesting the investigation. They said the flights appeared to violate federal law designed to make sure executive branch officials use the most economical travel available.
Price joins fellow Cabinent member Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, also under investigation for his use of taxpayer-funded private jets.
Secretary Price has justified his habit of using high-priced, taxpayer-funded private jets because the poor dear once had a flight delay:
“Wasting four hours in an airport and having the secretary cancel his event is not a good use of taxpayer money.”
Oh! Good heavens! He was forced to suffer through a four hour flight delay around all those pesky average Americans! Aside from the investigation by the HHS Inspector General, Democrats are also calling for hearings on the use of private jets by Secretary Price:
“If these recent reports are accurate, this would be a stunning and hypocritical breach of trust, given that the Trump Administration at the same time is trying to take away healthcare from millions of Americans and is proposing to slash funding at HHS — negatively affecting critical programs to provide early-childhood education, fund Medicare for seniors, and conduct medical research and development,” wrote Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) in his letter to HHS.
At least one of the two dozen chartered jet trips was to meet with the Koch alliance in Aspen, Colorado—where he was given marching orders to repeal the Affordable Care Act or the billionaire Koch brothers would close the “Dallas piggy bank” that pumps cash to Republican coffers.
For what it’s worth, when Tom Price was a member of Congress, he howled against the use of private jets by government officials. Here’s an interview with then Congressman Price calling taxpayer-funded private jets fiscally irresponsible.