After being heavily criticized by President Donald Trump, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price vowed Thursday to reimburse taxpayers for his use of private jets for official government business, The Hill writes.
“Today, I will write a personal check to the U.S. Treasury for the expenses of my travel on private charter planes The taxpayers won’t pay a dime for my seat on those planes.” Price said in a statement, noting that all of his travel itinerary has been “approved by legal and HHS officials.”
“I regret the concerns this has raised regarding the use of taxpayer dollars. It is clear to me that in this case, I was not sensitive enough to my concern for the taxpayer.” Price stressed.
An HHS spokesperson told The Hill that Price will pay $51,887.31 for his seat on the flights, not the entire cost.
“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 taxpayers won’t pay a dime for his seats on charter planes.” the HHS spokesperson said.
The Hill adds that Price had a minimum net worth of about $8.2 million, including more than one bank account containing at least $100,000 in cash, at the time of his nomination to lead HHS in January, according to his personal financial disclosure forms.
The former Georgia congressman has been the subject of controversy since a report by Politico revealed last week that he has flown a private jet at least 24 times since May, costing taxpayers an estimated $400,000.