Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is facing scrutiny from department investigators for using a government jet to travel from New York City to Washington, D.C., sources told ABC News.
Mnuchin used an Air Force C-37 jet to travel from Trump Tower in Manhattan to the U.S. Capitol on Aug. 15 after attending President Donald Trump’s news conference in which the president made controversial comments on the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Unnamed sources told ABC that the one-hour flight, which cost taxpayers $25,000, was being investigated along with two other travel requests.
Mnuchin previously had requested the use of an Air Force jet to travel on his honeymoon with Louise Linton to France, Italy and Scotland. Mnuchin told Politico Live that the request was to ensure he had secure communication throughout his trip.
“This had nothing to do with convenience,” Mnuchin told Politico Live. “This was purely a national security issue.”
ABC News reported that the honeymoon trip as well as the couple’s use of a military jet to travel to Louisville and Ft. Knox, Kentucky, last month were also under investigation. That trip coincided with the solar eclipse, which reached near totality in that area.
Mnuchin is not the only Trump official under fire for exorbitant travel costs. Tom Price, the head of the Health and Human Services Department, has racked up an estimated $300,000 in private charter flight costs. Politico reports that Price has utilized private planes at least 24 times since his confirmation in February.
“This is Secretary Price, getting outside of D.C., making sure he is connected with the real American people,” HHS spokeswoman Charmaine Yoest said in a statement to The Washington Post. “Wasting four hours in an airport and having the secretary cancel his event is not a good use of taxpayer money.”
ABC News spoke to former officials of the treasury and transportation departments who said this type of government travel was “exceedingly rare” and “typically on overseas business flights.”