- Education secretary Betsy DeVos reportedly has a net worth close to $US1.3 billion.
- DeVos shares the fortune with her husband, Richard DeVos Jr., the son of billionaire Amway cofounder Richard DeVos.
- The DeVos family reportedly owns a fleet of 12 private jets and four helicopters.
US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is currently the richest member of President Trump’s cabinet.
Her husband, Richard DeVos Jr., is part-heir to his father’s $US5.1 billion fortune, which he earned as cofounder of marketing giant Amway. The company does $US8.8 billion in sales annually.
DeVos was confirmed as education secretary under President Trump in February 2017, and has since faced criticism for strongly supporting school voucher programs and charter schools. She sent her four children to private school.
DeVos has also been met with disapproval from the public for her billionaire status. Her security detail alone costs about $US1 million a month, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.
But amid reports claiming other cabinet members fly private at the expense of American taxpayers, DeVos’ team has made it clear she travels on her own dollar.
According to Forbes, the DeVos family owns a fleet of 12 private jets – 1 Boeing Business Jet, 5 Gulfstream G550’s, 1 Gulfstream G450, 2 Bombardier Challenger 350’s, 3 Cessna Citation CJ4’s – and four helicopters.
“Secretary DeVos travels on personally-owned aircraft, accompanied by her security detail and whenever possible, additional support staff, at zero cost to US taxpayers,” her spokeswoman Elizabeth Hill said in September.
“The secretary neither seeks, nor accepts, any reimbursement for her flights, nor for any additional official travel-related expenses, such as lodging and per diem, even though she is entitled to such reimbursement under government travel regulations.”
DeVos’ predecessor, John B. King Jr., spent a total of $US39,000 on commercial flights over his year-long tenure.
A number of Trump’s other cabinet members and advisers own private jets as well, including Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Small Business Administration Administrator Linda McMahon, National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, according to Forbes.