Mnuchin Under Scrutiny for His Travel Expenses

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has cost taxpayers nearly $1 million for eight trips he made with a military aircraft, including his one-week trip to the Middle East in late October, which cost $183,646 for flights on military aircraft.

The Middle East trip came on top of the $811,797.81 that were previously reported expenditures for government-funded military aircraft.

According to Politico, emails and other documents were obtained by watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington through a Freedom of Information Act request. They corroborate information released in October by the Treasury Department’s inspector general about Mnuchin’s plane use.

Meanwhile, other officials in President Donald Trump’s administration are to be investigated for their use of government-funded flights. EPA chief Scott Pruitt has already drawn harsh criticism for flying first class, while former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price had to resign last year because of his extensive use of taxpayer-funded charter flights.

“Secretary Mnuchin is one of a host of cabinet secretaries who have collectively incurred millions of dollars of airfare expenses just during the first year of the Trump administration,” CREW said in its report on the documents.

The group also added that Treasury chief could schedule calls “when he is not on a short domestic flight” and could potentially use smaller aircraft. Treasury released the documents under FOIA after CREW filed a lawsuit.

Mnuchin’s spokesman said that he has not used any military aircraft since the Middle East trip but is scheduled to use one next week to fly to Buenos Aires for the G20 Summit, adding that the Treasury inspector general in its October report said Mnuchin had not violated any laws.

The agency also demanded from Mnuchin more information that will prove he couldn’t use a regular commercial flight.

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