The House Oversight Committee made moves on Wednesday to continue the investigation into the use of private jets by Cabinet officials.
The committee on Wednesday sent letters to the White House and 24 agencies seeking information on government officials use of and requests for private, non-commercial aircraft for official and personal travel.
The suspicion that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin utilized a government, non-commercial plane for his trip to Kentucky with wife Lois Linton to view the solar eclipse in August sparked an inquiry by the Treasury Department earlier this month.
“We are reviewing the circumstances of the secretary’s August 21 flight … to determine whether all applicable travel, ethics, and appropriation laws and policies were observed,” counsel Rich Delmar said in a statement to the Washington Post at the time.
“When our review is complete, we will advise the appropriate officials, in accordance with the Inspector General Act and established procedures,” Delmar continued.
Treasury officials have defended Mnuchin, saying the trip was “official government travel,” and noting he took the flight to visit the United States’ gold supply in Fort Knox and simultaneously watched the historic solar eclipse alongside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
“The Secretary of the Treasury at times needs to use a government aircraft to facilitate his travel schedule and to ensure uninterrupted access to secure communications,” a Treasury Department spokesperson said earlier this week, adding that the trip was approved by the White House and that Mnuchin had reimbursed the government for Linton’s portion of the travel.
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has been accused of similar misconduct, and now it seems he and Mnuchin may not come out unscathed.
Mnuchin’s wife, Lois Linton, fueled the controversy by being antagonistic on Instagram to those commenting on her luxurious trip with the Treasury secretary.
A photo Linton posted depicted the couple in swanky clothes, happily deplaning in Kentucky with the hashtags: #rolandmouret, #hermesscarf, #tomford, and #valentino.
When users angrily responded to Linton’s photo with remarks, such as, “Glad we could pay for your little getaway,” she called them “adorably out of touch,” adding that she and Mnuchin “sacrifice” more than most to the U.S. government.
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