Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price decided to take advantage of taxpayers last week after he used private jets for five different business flights.
Traditionally, former presidents’ secretaries would fly commercial flights when they traveled around the U.S., but that wasn’t the case for Price.
According to Politico, Price’s use of private jets between September 13 and 15 cost taxpayers at least $60,000.
“As part of the HHS mission to enhance and protect the health and well-being of the American people, Secretary Price travels on occasion outside Washington to meet face to face with the American people to hear their thoughts and concerns firsthand,” an HHS spokesperson told Politico.
“When commercial aircraft cannot reasonably accommodate travel requirements, charter aircraft can be used for official travel.”
An HHS spokesperson did say that official travel by the secretary “is done in complete accordance with Federal Travel Regulations.”
But Walter Shaub, the former director of the United States Office of Government Ethics, brought up the concern that there was no need for Price to use private jets to get to his destinations last week.
“I can understand why the secretary might have to use a charter flight to get to a hurricane-devastated region, but Philadelphia is not one of those regions this year,” he said.
“I find it hard to believe he couldn’t find a suitable commercial flight to Philadelphia.”
Shaub went on to express his disapproval of Price’s use of taxpayer money.
“This wasteful conduct reflects disdain for the ethical principle of treating public service as a public trust,” he said.
“Taxpayers should pay no more than necessary for your transportation.”
In the past, Price has raised concerns about federal spending.
“Tough choices had to be made to identify and reduce spending within the department,” Price said in a statement earlier this year.
“Our goal is to … [try] to decrease the areas where there are either duplications, redundancies or waste … and get a larger return on the investment of the American taxpayer.”