The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform recently sent numerous letters to heads of 24 different federal agencies requesting information on how non-career officials use aircraft for travel.
“The Committee is examining the extent to which non-career officials at federal departments and agencies either user government-owned aircraft for personal travel or private non-commercial aircraft for official travel,” wrote Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD).
The letters requested agencies provide each usage of a government-owned aircraft and private non-commercial aircraft since January 20 as well as policies relating to the use of such aircraft.
The letters were sent to the following agencies:
- U.S. Agency for International Development
- U.S. Department of Agriculture
- U.S. Department of Commerce
- U.S. Department of Defense
- U.S. Department of Education
- U.S. Department of Energy
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
- U.S. Department of Justice
- U.S. Department of Labor
- U.S. Department of State
- U.S. Department of the Interior
- U.S. Department of the Treasury
- U.S. Department of Transportation
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- U.S. General Services Administration
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration
- National Science Foundation
- U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
- U.S. Office of Personnel Management
- U.S. Small Business Administration
- Social Security Administration
Recent reports in the media of HHS Secretary Tom Price’s repeated use of a private jet when traveling sparked calls from House Democrats to investigate the legitimacy of such trips and likely are at least part of the impetus for the House Oversight Committee’s letters to agencies.
Politico recently reported that Price took a private jet to St. Simons Island and Nashville, TN, two places where he owns property. An HHS official told Politico that both trips were official government travel and were therefore paid for by the agency. However, an ethics official weighed in saying that the trips may have been legal but he felt they were “ethically dubious.”
President Trump even weighed in on the matter today, telling reporters at the White House he was displeased with the situation. “I’m not happy about it, and I let him [Price] know it,” Trump said.