Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin found himself in hot water over government travel for the second time in weeks, after ABC News reported that he requested use of a US Air Force jet for his honeymoon.
According to ABC News’ sources, Mnuchin’s request for government transport could have cost around $US25,000 per hour. The request was later scrapped after consideration by Treasury Department officials.
A spokesman for the department said the request stemmed from concerns about Mnuchin maintaining a secure line of communication with the US governement while he was away.
“The Secretary is a member of the National Security Council and has responsibility for the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence,” the spokesman said in a statement to ABC. “It is imperative that he have access to secure communications, and it is our practice to consider a wide range of options to ensure he has these capabilities during his travel, including the possible use of military aircraft.”
Sources also said that Mnuchin’s request initiated an “inquiry” by the department’s Inspector General.
“You don’t need a giant rulebook of government requirements to just say yourself, ‘This is common sense, it’s wrong,” Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, told ABC News. “That’s just slap-your-forehead stuff.”
Mnuchin previously received negative attention in late August, after his wife, Louise Linton, made passive-aggressive remarks to an Instagram user who criticised a picture that showed her and Mnuchin stepping off of a government jet during a trip to Kentucky. The inspector general was also reviewing that trip to determine if Mnuchin used it as cover to watch the solar eclipse.
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