About a half-dozen members of President Trump’s Cabinet, past and present, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on charter jets, military planes and other government aircraft for travel that often could have been undertaken much less expensively on commercial aircraft.
One of those Cabinet members, Tom Price, resigned as secretary of health and human services a week ago as revelations about his travel, uncovered by reporters at Politico, mounted. The focus on Price, though, tended to overwhelm stories about the excessive spending on travel by his former colleagues, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.
Price’s travel is estimated to have cost at least a million dollars; Mnuchin’s was close to that. Using data from news reports and an inspector general’s report from the Treasury Department, we recorded 71 separate flights from these six Cabinet members.
This is simple corruption: high placed officials wasting public monies for their own comfort and convenience. It certainly falls into the ever-popular “waste and fraud” category that is often touted as the means by which to solve all government spending problems. Price deserved to go, and quite frankly so do all the others engaging in this behavior.
This public display of hubris also undercuts the narrative that putting the wealthy into the cabinet somehow limits corruption.