Tired of flying coach? Join USAID!
Employees for the government agency spent $18.8 million on luxury plane travel between 2009 and 2013, documents reveal.
The Agency for International Development has had problems in prior years due to employees improperly buying business or first class tickets. A 2016 government audit found that 76 percent of trips analyzed did not meet agency requirements for premium-class travel. USAID employees are allowed to fly business or first class if there are cost savings, they are disabled, the flight is over 14 hours, or no coach accommodation is available.
The audit said that one employee took a $15,186 business class trip with an unallowed rest stop. The report pointed out that a coach flight for the same trip would have cost $3,049.
“It may surprise taxpayers, but much of the $24 billion the federal government spends annually on foreign aid is consumed by U.S. consultants and officials jetting around and attending conferences and writing reports — it doesn’t actually get to the foreign people in need,” Chris Edwards, a budget analyst at the Cato Institute, previously told The Washington Times.
The documents of USAID premium travel were obtained by Government Attic and reveal that agency employees flew in comfort to conferences in Madrid, Amsterdam, Rome, Tel Aviv, Dubai, London, and Bangkok.