Washington, D.C. – Senior Congressional Democratic leaders sent a letter to the Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (OIG) today requesting an investigation into reports that Secretary Tom Price has been using taxpayer funds to book private jets to accommodate his travel.
The letter was signed by Senate Subcommittee onFederal Spending Oversight & Emergency Management Ranking Member Gary Peters (D-MI), Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), Senate Finance Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) and House Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), House Ways and Means Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA).
“We are writing to request that you conduct a review of Secretary Tom Price’s adherence to federal regulations and Department of Health and Human Services policies and procedures for travel,” the members wrote to HHS Inspector General Levinson. “This request follows a troubling report by Politico that Secretary Price recently used privately chartered flights to travel within the Northeast United States on HHS business over the course of three days, which was estimated to cost ‘tens of thousands of dollars more than commercial travel.’”
The members continued, “American taxpayers deserve assurances that their tax dollars are not wasted by the government’s highest officials, and we are committed to holding Secretary Price to his stated pledges to reduce waste throughout the Department. Therefore, we appreciate your prompt and thorough review of these issues.”
As part of the investigation, the members are requesting that the OIG’s review include a determination on a series of questions, including:
- On how many occasions to date did Secretary Price utilize government aircraft and/or privately chartered aircraft?
- How much did these trips cost federal taxpayers?
- In each of the instances in which a chartered flight was used, what justification was provided for not flying commercially?
- Is there a mechanism for Secretary Price to reimburse taxpayers for the costs incurred?
- Did any HHS personnel raise concerns internally about Secretary Price’s repeated use of privately chartered flights?
A copy of the letter is available here.