Speed Reads

the price is wrong

Report: Tom Price took military aircraft for overseas trips, costing taxpayers $500,000

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, accompanied by his wife Betty Price, used military aircraft to fly to Africa and Europe this spring and Asia later in the summer, costing taxpayers more than $500,000, Politico reports.

Price's trips were approved by the White House, and HHS spokeswoman Charmaine Yoest said Price has reimbursed the agency for his wife's travel, but would not say when; she also said he took the military aircraft for his personal safety and so he could securely communicate with his department. His stops included Tokyo for a world health meeting and Liberia to discuss the country's response to the Ebola virus. "The trips he's gone on make total sense," one former HHS official told Politico. "It's just how he got there."

Price's overseas trips and use of private charter jets domestically have cost taxpayers more than $1 million since May, Politico determined. Earlier Thursday, Price said he would pay the government back for the price of his seat on trips he took domestically on private aircraft, reportedly around $52,000. Invoices Politico reviewed showed Price's weeklong trip through Africa and Europe in the spring was projected to cost $311,418.25 for 30 hours of flying time; one 95-minute leg from Berlin to Geneva on May 21 was expected to cost almost $16,000, with commercial flight options available at the same time for $260 a ticket or less. Other members of Price's delegation flew commercial to Europe, Politico notes.