Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price took five flights on private jets last week for government business, Politico reports.
Price took several privately chartered flights between Sept. 13 and 15 from Washington, D.C., to and around the northeast, to participate in meetings and discussions with health care companies and executives, according to Politico, which cited airport records and internal Department of Health and Human Services documents.
“As part of the HHS mission to enhance and protect the health and well-being of the American people, Secretary Price travels on occasion outside Washington to meet face to face with the American people to hear their thoughts and concerns firsthand,” a spokesman for HHS told Politico. “When commercial aircraft cannot reasonably accommodate travel requirements, charter aircraft can be used for official travel.”
The HHS Inspector General’s office has not received any congressional requests to review Price’s air travel, an OIG spokesman told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Price has a reputation for championing efficiency and reducing government waste. “Tough choices had to be made to identify and reduce spending within the department,” Price said in his statement to Congress for HHS’s budget request in March.
“Our goal is to fashion a budget that focuses on the things that work, that tries to decrease the areas where there are either duplications or redundancies or waste. And whether or not we can indeed get a larger return for the investment of the American tax payer in this area which is so vitally important,” Price said during the budget hearing.
Other officials in President Donald Trump’s cabinet have been criticized for the use of federally funded flights. The Office of the Inspector General is investigating Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for his use of government funds after he was criticized for flying to Fort Knox, Ky. in August to watch the eclipse with his wife, Louise Linton, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Mnuchin also allegedly requested a government plane for his honeymoon to Europe this summer to provide secure communications during his trip, but the Department of the Treasury found an alternative communication system.
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