Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin committed “no violation of law” when he used private jets for seven official trips, the Treasury Departments Office Of Inspector General says, but needs to make a better case going forward for costing taxpayers this kind of coin.
Going forward, IG put Mnuchin on notice, it expects a “more rigorous and complete” case to be made, before checking out a government or military jet for official business.
IG lawyer Rich Delmar warned of the “disconnect” between the accepted rules regarding administration officials requesting private jets, and “the actual amount of proof” provided by Treasury and accepted by the White House in justifying these requests.
In almost all cases, a single boilerplate statement was the only case made for use of the aircraft, Delmar said. The boilerplate language read, “Due to scheduling, logistics,and communications needs, the use of reimbursable military aircraft, preferably a C-40, is requested.”
The report was released less than a week after former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price resigned in the wake of reports he’d cost taxpayers $1 million got his private air travel, including a five-figure trip from Washington to Philly, which can be reached easily by train – or a car.
In August, Mnuchin’s wife had to apologize for her “let them eat cake” Instagram moment related to one of her husband’s eyebrow raising plane trips. Louise Linton had posted to Instagram a photo of herself exiting a government plane for what she describe as:
#daytrip to #Kentucky! #nicest #people #beautiful#countryside #rolandmouret pants, #tomford sunnies, #hermesscarf, #valentinorockstudheels, #valentino #usa
The Treasury Department promised the Mnuchins would reimburse the cost of her trip to Kentucky and assure that Linton was not compensated by the designers for plugging her outfit with a flurry of hashtags.
Where Linton really went wrong was when she blasted a lengthy condescending response to an Oregon mother of three who had said of the photo: “glad we could pay for your little getaway #deplorable.” Linton called the woman “adorably out of touch, suggesting she “chill out” and go watch the new Game of Thrones, and sniffed that she and hubby pay more in taxes than Oregon Mom. Media blowback came fast and furious with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes saying it best, describing her as Marie Antoinette with an Instagram account.