Politco: Price’s private-jet travel breaks precedent
In a sharp departure from his predecessors, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price last week took private jets on five separate flights for official business, at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars more than commercial travel.
Ethics experts say the use of private charters by government officials, while legal, is highly dubious and in most cases a misuse of taxpayer funding.
“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 was 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.”
“This wasteful conduct reflects disdain for the ethical principle of treating public service as a public trust,” said Shaub, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama. “Public office isn’t supposed to come with frivolous perks at taxpayer expense.”
Shaub said that the trips violate the “spirit” of the Federal Travel Regulations, citing the express guidance contained in the regulations that “taxpayers should pay no more than necessary for your transportation.”