- Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s air travel has come under scrutiny.
- A government watchdog group obtained records detailing seven separate trips Mnuchin took last year that cost a total of almost $US1 million.
- This isn’t the first time Mnuchin has come under fire for alleged excessive use of taxpayer dollars.
US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin racked up more than $US1 million in airfare between March and October last year, according to documents obtained by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a non-profit government watchdog group.
The records provide details of seven separate official government trips Mnuchin took on the taxpayers’ dime. An eighth trip from Washington to New York, documented in an October 2017 report by Rich Delmar, counsel to the Treasury Department’s Office of Inspector General, cost taxpayers more than $US15,000.
These figures did not factor in reimbursements from Mnuchin’s wife or members of the press who travelled with the secretary during some of the trips.
In every instance, Mnuchin flew on military aircraft rather than on commercial, which would have cost far less.
For example, on June 1, 2017, Mnuchin’s office was notified that an upcoming trip to Miami would cost just under $US27,000. But two days before the scheduled departure, CREW noted, the Treasury Department requested an upgrade in aircraft to accommodate the need to access “secured comms during this mission.”
The upgrade caused the actual cost of the trip to jump to $US45,136.
The cost per person on a commercial flight would have been $US688 round-trip, emails obtained by CREW show.
Although Mnuchin has used military aircraft for travel far more often than his predecessors, CREW said the “detail and justification” included in his requests “bear a remarkable similarity” to those submitted by previous treasury secretaries.
Mnuchin has come under fire in recent months for what many perceive to be his excessive use of taxpayer dollars.
In early August, Mnuchin requested to fly on a military jet to visit Europe with his wife for their honeymoon.
That trip was ultimately scrapped after Treasury Department officials considered it.
Other Trump Cabinet members – including Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt, and former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price – have also come under scrutiny for their questionable use of taxpayer money.
Here are the eight trips Mnuchin took in 2017 that cost more than $US1 million combined:
- March 15-18, UK and Germany, meeting with foreign finance ministers: $US301,167
- May 11-14, Italy, G-20 Finance Ministers Conference: $US314,442
- June 9, Canada, bilateral meeting with the finance minister of Canada: $US16,350
- June 15, Miami, Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America: $US45,725
- August 15, New York, meetings at Trump Tower:$US15,112
- August 21, Kentucky, official events with Republican lawmakers: $US26,900
- August 28-29, West Virginia and Las Vegas, meetings with senators: $US94,100
- Late October, Middle East, bilateral meetings and press conferences with government officials and business leaders:$US183,646