Treasury Secretary Has Spent Nearly $1 Million on Military Flights

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A report by the Treasury Department's inspector general on Thursday said that Secretary Steven Mnuchin did not violate any law in the seven trips he has taken on government airplanes but did fail to provide enough proof of why he needed to use the more expensive modes of travel.

The Treasury report said Mnuchin's staff had made nine requests for the use of government aircraft since Mnuchin became Treasury secretary this year, including a request for a government plane this summer for Mnuchin's honeymoon travels to Britain, France and Italy. But it was also, in a way, a more innocent time: a time before we found out that Trump's champagne Cabinet was invoicing taxpayers for hundreds of thousands of dollars in private jets for weekend getaways and lunches with family members; flights that often included wives and entourages; trips home to Oklahoma and to Montana and to Las Vegas to meet a hockey team and to the Virgin Islands for a snorkeling tour.

"My summaries show that in nearly all cases a single boilerplate statement constituted the whole analysis and justification for designation and use of military aircraft, despite the fact that [the accepted rule] clearly calls for a more rigorous and complete provision of facts and arguments", Delmar wrote.

Mnuchin used government planes for travel overseas and within the United States.

The report comes amid reports that three other administration officials have used private or military aircraft for trips, including former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who reportedly spent more than $400,000 on private domestic travel.

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The review opens a window on a cost of government business that, while justified in Mnuchin's case because of his need for secure communications aboard planes, is nonetheless pricey.

"The Department followed the same approval procedures and provided the White House the same level of justification as in previous administrations, including the Obama Administration", the statement said.

Delmar found that the proof in Mnuchin's case cut corners. The inspector general's office found that there was no evidence to suggest Mnuchin planned the trip around the solar eclipse.

In another case, Mnuchin cost taxpayers $43,725.50 to fly to Miami for a meeting with the Mexican finance minister, the Times reported.

"My summaries show that in nearly all cases a single boilerplate statement constituted the whole analysis and justification for designation and use of military aircraft, despite the fact that [the accepted rule] clearly calls for a more rigorous and complete provision of facts and arguments", Delmar wrote.

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