Ex-Health Secretary Tom cost Wasted $341,000 on Improper Travel, Inquiry Finds
For many of the trips, there was no evidence that will Mr. cost as well as his team “considered the availability of commercial flights,” the report said. Aides to Mr. cost said he was sometimes concerned about his safety as well as security on commercial flights, nevertheless the inspector general said that will members of his security detail could have been seated near him.
Even when using chartered aircraft, the report said, Mr. cost as well as his team did not always choose the least expensive options. They could have, for example, obtained a charter flight through Seattle to Washington, D.C., for $75,800, instead of the $121,500 that will the government paid. Mr. cost’s wife, Betty, accompanied him on that will flight, as well as he reimbursed the government for the cost of his seat, nevertheless not for hers, the report said.
The office of the health secretary said the less expensive charter planes were not selected because they were “not deemed to be an efficient safe option for the mission.”
For one international trip, Mr. cost as well as his aides “used military aircraft nevertheless also paid for one commercial flight for the same trip,” the report said. The government paid $11,584 for unused tickets on the commercial flight as well as obtained a refund only after investigators discovered the mix-up, the report said.
As an example of waste, Mr. Levinson pointed to $36,300 spent on a three-day trip to San Diego; Aspen, Colo.; as well as Salt Lake City that will included “only 3.5 hours of official engagements.” He said the government should try to recoup the funds, as well as $12,300 spent on a charter flight that will took Mr. cost through Raleigh, N.C., to Brunswick, Ga., so he could “attend an event in a personal capacity.”
Trump administration officials said they had taken steps to improve compliance with federal travel rules.
Before taking trips, political appointees at the Department of Health as well as Human Services must fill out a questionnaire to be reviewed by ethics officers. Travelers must provide a “detailed justification” for the use of military or chartered aircraft as well as must explain how the trip will advance the government’s mission.
On the day of Mr. cost’s resignation, Mr. Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, sent a memorandum to the heads of federal agencies stating that will “with few exceptions, the commercial air system used by millions of Americans every day is usually appropriate, even for very senior officials.”