Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Tom Price gets 95% discount on the taxpayer-funded travel he’s paying back

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James Hohmann reports in the Washington Post:

THE BIG IDEA: Bowing to pressure from Republicans on Capitol Hill and public criticism from President Trump, Tom Price announced Thursday that he will partially reimburse the government for the costs of his flights on charter planes in recent months.

The Health and Human Services secretary is writing a check for $51,887 to the Treasury Department. He said he will no longer take private charters at taxpayer expense and plans to cooperate with the HHS inspector general, who last week launched an investigation into his travel practices.

The optics here are terrible. Price took a $25,000 charter flight from Dulles to Philadelphia when a round-trip train ticket would have cost $72. The government also paid for a private jet to whisk Price to a resort in Georgia where he owns land and to Nashville, where he lunched with his son.

— It came out last night that Price also used military aircraft for trips to Africa and Europe this spring, and to Asia in the summer, at a cost of more than $500,000 to taxpayers. Politico, which broke that story, notes that the reimbursements do not cover any military planes: “The overseas trips bring the total cost to taxpayers of Price’s travels to more than $1 million since May. … Price’s wife, Betty, accompanied him on the military flights, while other members of the secretary’s delegation flew commercially to Europe. … But one of Price’s recent predecessors, Kathleen Sebelius, who served for five years under President Barack Obama, said she never took a military plane on her many trips overseas; she always flew commercially.” . . .

Continue reading.

See also Bess Levin’s article in Vanity Fair, “Tom Price will reimburse taxpayers for (a fraction of the cost) of those private flights.”

And Kevin Drum blogs:

Here’s the latest:

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke chartered a flight from Las Vegas to near his home in Montana this summer aboard a plane owned by oil-and-gas executives, internal documents show….The flight cost taxpayers $12,375, according to an Interior Department spokeswoman. Commercial airlines run daily flights between the two airports and charge as little as $300.

So that makes four: Mnuchin, Price, Pruitt, and Zinke. The Trumpies have developed a real taste for private jet travel on the taxpayers’ dime, haven’t they?

“Draining the swamp” seems not to actually mean “draining the swamp.”

Written by LeisureGuy

29 September 2017 at 8:51 am

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