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Tom Price, the embattled secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, resigned on Friday, several days after it came to light that he had employed private jets on over two dozen domestic trips in the last five months, resulting in more than $400,000 in charges to the government.
Reports this week indicated that the President was unhappy with his cabinet member’s travel habits, and even though Price had offered to reimburse the government approximately $50,000 for the cost of his seat on the jets and to discontinue the practice in the future, those gestures were not enough to quell the criticism.
An investigation of the flights by Politico found that in some cases Price had chosen to fly charter planes such as Embraer ERJ-135s and Learjet 60s when significantly cheaper commercial options were available at similar times on the same route. The regular use of private jets is uncommon at the department, and Federal Travel Regulations inform government officials that “taxpayers should pay no more than necessary for your transportation.”
While Price stated that his travel had passed his department’s legal review, the inspector general of Health and Human Services has launched an investigation, and Politico reported having discovered additional international flights for which Price had employed military aircraft for himself and his wife.
With his resignation, it’s unclear as to whether Price will still follow through with repayments for the flights.
Featured image by UR-SDV via Wikimedia Commons.
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