In the course of investigating the private charter plane usage by former HHS Secretary Tom Price, questions surrounding the participation of Kellyanne Conway in the use of private air travel have surfaced.
Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Elijah Cummings (D-MD), has requested information from the White House on how many flights Conway took and to what destinations, while accompanying Price to conventions and meetings about the opioid crisis in America.
Price resigned from his position in the Trump administration after racking up expenditures in excess of a million dollars on private and government air travel. Price has vowed to repay the government for flights which coincided with personal trips that were initially paid for out of government coffers. The total on those is reported at approximately $52,000 and Cummings has requested a copy of the check written by Price when it is received.
Cummings, in a letter to Conway that was obtained by ABC News, asked:
‘Despite the fact that you joined Secretary Price on several of these flights, you have not made any similar public statements indicating whether your own actions were appropriate, whether you will continue to take such flights at taxpayer expense in the future, or whether you plan to personally repay the taxpayers for the cost of your seats on these flights.’
Price wasn’t the only person that was abusing private air travel in the Trump administration. Also under investigation are Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Conway comes under scrutiny because of her travel with Price.
In an attempt to stop the misuse of government and private air travel, the White House has enacted new procedures for approval of all private air travel. According to a memo from Mick Mulvaney, White House budget director, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly now must sign off on any travel by agency administrators that utilize private chartered or government air travel. In the memo, Mulvaney wrote:
‘Every penny we spend comes from the taxpayer. We thus owe it to the taxpayer to work as hard managing that money wisely as the taxpayer must do to earn it in the first place.’
Although it is good to see a proactive approach being taken, after the fact, one must wonder if it is not “too little, too late.”
There have been almost constant scandals plaguing the Trump administration since before the election results were tallied. This first volley of investigations is just the tip of the iceberg. Coupled with the ongoing investigations into collusion with Russia before and after the election and inauguration, Trump will probably go down in history as the most scandalous president in American history.
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