Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price took almost a half dozen domestic trips on private jets last week, Politico reported Tuesday night, becoming the latest Trump administration official to be accused of inappropriate travel. Politico reported that one of Price's five corporate jet trips that occurred between September 13 and 15 cost roughly $25,000, according to the company that owns the jet that took Price and 10 others from Dulles International Airport to Philadelphia International Airport.
Obama-era HHS secretaries Sylvia Mathews Burwell and Kathleen Sebelius took commercial flights while in the continental United States.
In articles this week, Politico reported on Price's trips, saying it has identified at least 24 flights since early May. "Let's see if more money helps that out" is the wrong way", Price told CNN's Sanjay Gupta. Politico delves into the flights, finding that, for at least one jaunt that likely cost about $25,000 (between Washington, DC, and Philadelphia), a much cheaper United Airlines flight (hundreds of dollars for a ticket, not tens of thousands) was available at nearly exactly the same departure time out of Dulles. His predecessors often traveled by commercial flights or on trains, at a fraction of the cost.
In a statement, the government watchdog says it is "conducting a review of Secretary Price's Federal travel using chartered aircraft".
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos - who is the second wealthiest Trump cabinet official - told the Associated Press news agency this week she uses her "personally-owned aircraft" for travel at zero cost to taxpayers. While HHS did not reveal the full price tag for the trip, several charter airline operators suggested that the total cost of the itinerary would have been somewhere around $60,000.
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Indeed, exactly eight years ago this month, the Georgia Republican appeared on CNBC to rail against - you guessed it - government use of private jets.
A spokesperson for Price told The Washington Post on Friday that Price can't serve American taxpayers if he is stuck at an airport and misses official business as a result.
Yoest said that early in his tenure in Trump's Cabinet, Price was delayed at an airport and forced to cancel a public event.
"The Secretary has taken commercial flights for official business after his confirmation".
Tesia D. Williams, a spokeswoman for the HHS inspector general said the office was reviewing the request by Democratic members of Congress to investigate. He took a private plane, for example, to the Aspen Ideas Festival - which, it's worth noting, is not exactly packed with average Americans from across the country.