Tom Price to Issue Partial Refund for Cost of Using Private Charter Planes
President Donald Trump came into office promising to cut government waste but it seems his administration is more wasteful than past administrations.
For weeks controversy has been brewing over his team’s use of private charter planes for personal and government travel. Today, one official, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price apologized and announced that he would issue a partial refund for his charter jets use.
Experts estimate that private jet use by Secretary Price has cost taxpayers up to $400,000 but Price announced Thursday he will write a check to cover $51,887.31 of the cost. It is not clear if he would cover the remaining cost later.
“Today, I will write a personal check to the U.S. Treasury for the expenses of my travel on private charter planes,” Price said in a statement. “The taxpayers won’t pay a dime for my seat on those planes.”
Price said his use of private charter jets were “approved by legal and HHS officials” but he pledged to stop using private jets at everyone’s expense.
“I regret the concerns this has raised regarding the use of taxpayer dollars,” Price said. “It is clear to me that in this case, I was not sensitive enough to my concern for the taxpayer.”
Health and Human Services spokesman later confirmed that Price will indeed issue a check to partly cover his expenses.
“The Secretary has heard the taxpayers’ concerns and wants to be responsive to them. That’s why he’s taking the unprecedented step of reimbursing the government for his share of the travel,” the spokesperson said. “The taxpayers won’t pay a dime for his seats on charter planes.”
“Today, I will write a personal check to the U.S. Treasury for the expenses of my travel on private charter planes,” Price said in a statement. “The taxpayers won’t pay a dime for my seat on those planes,” he said in a statement.
Price was a millionaire Georgia Republican congressman before assuming the HHS post.
President Donald Trump this week hinted that Price’s job may be on the line because he is not happy with the charter jets controversy and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed Thursday that a full review is in progress.
“We’re going to conduct a full review and see what happens,” press secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday. “As the president said yesterday, he’s not happy with the actions. We’re looking at the issue.”
Price’s private flights are also being looked into by his department’s inspector general. Also, the Treasury inspector general is reviewing department head Steven Mnuchin’s use of a private jet in August, as well as why he requested a government plane to take him and his wife, Louise Linton, on their European honeymoon.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has also been using private planes for government duties. According to media reports, Pruitt’s private flights have cost taxpayers nearly $60,000. So far, neither Pruitt nor Mnuchin has offered to refund the cost to taxpayers abd Trump hasn’t said anything about it.
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