Tags: tom price | travel | private jets | commercial planes | report

Report: Price Flying on Private Jets Instead of Commercial Planes

Report: Price Flying on Private Jets Instead of Commercial Planes
(AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 20 September 2017 10:16 AM

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price flew on five private jets for official business last week costing tens of thousands of dollars more than commercial travel, Politico reported.

Price's private travel arrangements included jets to a Maine resort for a discussion with a healthcare industry CEO and to community health centers in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, according to Politico, which cited internal HHS documents.

The travel arrangements were in sharp contrast from Price's predecessors Sylvia Mathews Burwell and Kathleen Sebelius, who flew commercially.

Price would not comment on his use of corporate-style jets, Politico reported. And HHS officials declined to respond to inquiries about who paid for the travel.

"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," an HHS spokesperson said. "When commercial aircraft cannot reasonably accommodate travel requirements, charter aircraft can be used for official travel."

The website said current and former staffers claim Price has been using private jets for travel inside the U.S. for months, Politico reported.

While not illegal, it is a misuse of taxpayer money, said one ethics official.

"I can understand why the secretary might have to use a charter flight to get to a hurricane-devastated region, but Philadelphia is not one of those regions this year," said Walter Shaub, who served as director of the United States Office of Government Ethics until July. "I find it hard to believe he couldn't find a suitable commercial flight to Philadelphia."

Price has raised concerns in the past about federal spending, Politico reported.

"Tough choices had to be made to identify and reduce spending within the department," Price said.

"Our goal is to … (try) to decrease the areas where there are either duplications, redundancies or waste … and get a larger return for the investment of the American taxpayer."

Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last week that his staff had explored the idea of a military jet to fly him and his wife, Louise Linton, to their honeymoon in Europe over the summer to ensure he had access to secure communications. The idea was later dropped when he learned of other communications options, The Washington Post reported.

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Politics
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price flew on five private jets for official business last week costing tens of thousands of dollars more than commercial travel, Politico reported.
tom price, travel, private jets, commercial planes, report
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2017-16-20
Wednesday, 20 September 2017 10:16 AM
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