Trump Team Travel Travalis
On Thursday, the Treasury Department inspector general found that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's seven flights on military planes were all legally approved by the White House but suggested that the $811,798 cost to taxpayers was poorly justified by repeated use of an inadequate "single boilerplate statement" about "scheduling, logistics, and communications needs." "Just because something is legal doesn't make it right," wrote IG counsel Rich Delmar, who investigated the nine military fights Mnuchin has requested, including the withdrawn request for his European honeymoon and a trip to the Middle East later this month.
Mnuchin's travels on government aircraft include a round trip from Washington, D.C., to New York to meet with President Trump at Trump Tower ($15,112), the infamous trip to Kentucky with his wife during the solar eclipse ($26,900), a C-32 jet to Italy for the G-7 summit ($314,442), and a $43,726 flight to Miami with Mexico's finance minister that the Treasury Department's travel office pointedly noted at the time would cost $688 round-trip commercial. "Treasury secretaries generally take commercial flights except in extenuating circumstances because of the exorbitant costs of using military planes," The New York Times notes.
A Treasury Department spokeswoman thanked the inspector general's office for finding "no violation of law, regulation, or ethics requirements in connection with the department's requests." Four other Cabinet officials and former Health and Human Secretary Tom Price are still subject to inspector general inquiries about their travel. Price racked up at least $500,000 in taxpayer-funded charter flights before resigning last Friday, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, and Veterans Affair Secretary David Shulkin — who reportedly mixed four days of taxpayer-funded sightseeing in Europe with his wife in July — collectively racked up tens of thousand of dollars in questionable flights.