Air Swamp

Via WaPo:  Nearly six dozen flights on charter, military or government-owned planes by Cabinet members, mapped.

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.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Ben Wolf says:

    In my personal experience many conservatives equate wealth with virtue and therefore these people cannot be guilty of any wrong-doing. Needless to say the assumptions underpinning this are anti-conservative, but what can one do?

    A friend continues to insist Trump’s people all want to “fix the system” and are just used to a certain lifestyle so it isn’t actually corrupt to behave corruptly. Unless Democrats do it.

  2. Mister Bluster says:

    This is simple corruption: high placed officials wasting public monies for their own comfort and convenience.

    “Why shouldn’t the president surround himself with successful people?” reasons Kudlow, “Wealthy folks have no need to steal or engage in corruption.”
    Larry Krudlow National Review

    HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

    Kim Jong Trump is directly responsible for this theft of the Citizen’s money as he appointed these bags.


  3. James Pearce says:

    Well, at least we know exactly how much that “Basket of Deplorables” comment cost us.

  4. Hal_10000 says:

    The Trump Administration: where you almost prefer the rich corrupt idiots over the ideological nincompoops.

  5. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @James Pearce: “It’s dead, Jim; let it go.”

  6. Rick Zhang says:

    @Ben Wolf:
    Zero outrage from the right. I guess all the principled conservatives have left the party to become independents.

    We’re seeing an intraparty civil war as bad as the Conservative Party plotting in the UK. Paul Ryan was right to be worried about arrows from the back. Up next is the fun of Bannon-backed challengers in the 2018 primaries.