Following a request by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), the Transportation Department Office of Inspector General (OIG) will review a total of 18 flights covering seven trips made by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on aircraft operated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
In total, the flights — dating back to 2017 — cost $41,905.20 in taxpayer money for Buttigieg and the other staff onboard. A department spokesperson told Reuters that operating the FAA planes was cheaper than flying commercial in six of the seven trips.
The spokesperson added that the department intends to “fully cooperate with the [Inspector General] on this,” according to Reuters.
In January, the month after Rubio’s initial request, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) also raised concerns about Buttigieg’s travel arrangements.
“Brief meetings with people you could have met with in Washington, or picked up a phone to talk to, create questions about whether you really required the use of a private jet, especially as you call on Americans to sacrifice to reduce carbon emissions,” Grassley wrote.
For his part, Buttigieg said on Twitter he was “[g]lad this will be reviewed independently so misleading narratives can be put to rest.”
“Bottom line: I mostly fly on commercial flights, in economy class. And when I do use our agency’s aircraft, it’s usually a situation where doing so saves taxpayer money,” tweeted the Transportation secretary.
The OIG said it would “focus on official trips taken since January 31, 2017,” Reuters reported.
Part of that period was occupied by the former Transportation secretary, Elaine Chao, who served in the role under President Trump.
Rubio prompted the focus on the Transportation secretary’s flights in December 2022. The senator initiated the request after Fox News reported on the trips, questioning if Buttigieg failed to follow department policies when using FAA aircraft.
“American taxpayers deserve assurances that their tax dollars are not wasted by the government’s highest officials,” wrote the senator, per Reuters.
A spokesperson for the Transportation secretary, Kerry Arndt, said in an email that the review will offer his team an opportunity to address “some of the false, outlandish, and cynical claims about the Secretary’s mode of travel,” according to The Washington Post.
And in Chuck Grassley’s case the country would be millions ahead if they didn’t have to pay his useless salary and perks and travel and allow him to inside trade on every stock he looks at. he had a 39 acre farm and a couple hundred thousand dollar net worth when first elected now His net worth is over 7 million dollars but he made sure to take the Farm Subsidies Trump handed out to the tune of 1.4 million dollars . All their investigations and accusations are just diversions to keep everyone from looking at them.
Elaine Chao, Transportation Secretary from 2017-2021, spent more on 1 trip than the current person has spent in 6 years (4 of which he wasn’t even in office? which doesn’t make sense, but the author states 2017 so there must be a reason why).
Chao took one flight to and around Europe that cost taxpayers an estimated $68,892 for her and five staffers. Just 1 trip!
So why is there concern with $41,905.20 over 7 trips in 6 years when Elaine Chao spent waaaaay more of our money in just 4 years? Why is she not being investigated?
Sarah her charming husband and family probably went with them. Secretary Chao did nothing she should have been looking at the railroad track. I have never been a fan of Buttigieg but he has been trying to take control of transportation.
Chao never did a thing, she didn’t try because Mitch is her husband. A state that has more Fentanyl then any State in America. 60 minutes did a story on one of the cities in Kentucky. They had a doctor who was giving out Fentanyl to all of his patients who complained about pain.