Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, recently released a report about the exorbitant cost of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s military aircraft trips. By CREW’s calculations, Mnuchin took seven trips between the spring and fall of 2017 that totaled nearly $1 million.
A CREW official, Anne Weismann discusses the waste, “The public still has no reasonable explanation for why Secretary Mnuchin apparently has never used commercial aircraft while his predecessors did, or why he needs military aircraft that can accommodate 120 passengers when his travel manifests contain far fewer names.”
For example, Mnuchin used a military aircraft on June 15th for a trip to Miami which cost $45,136. Those same five people could have flown commercial for less than $5,000. The reason that Mnuchin couldn’t fly commercial? He needed to make a phone call.
A Treasury Spokesperson defended Mnuchin’s travel stating it cost “substantially less” than his predecessor and made sure to note that he “hadn’t broken any laws.” However, the CREW report shows that Mnuchin has a higher occurrence of using military aircraft for domestic flights, in fact, to date he has not flown commercial even once.
CREW began looking into Mnuchin’s travel after he and his now wife took a highly publicized flight on a military jet that just so happened to coincide with the solar eclipse. Mnuchin denies the eclipse was the reason for the trip, but such lavish unnecessary spending would not be anything new for the Trump administration.
In fact, flagrant misuse of taxpayer money is what this cabinet is all about. Mnuchin’s $1 million for military flights can be added to the $31,000 Ben Carson wanted to spend on dining room furniture, the $139,000 Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke spent on new office doors, and the $400,000 that Former Health Secretary Tom Price spent on chartered flights.