Price's Penchant For Private Jets Cost More Than $300K Since May

Frederick Owens
September 23, 2017

As a US lawmaker in 2009, Price chastised "the fiscal irresponsibility" of government private plane use in an appearance on CNBC that he also posted on Twitter at the time. Price, according to an aide, was forced to wait for hours in an airport, causing him to miss a scheduled public appearance his office had coordinated.

After making an announcement about federal grants targeting the opioid epidemic, Price flew on a charter from Portsmouth back to Washington.

That's not a great look for a Cabinet member - especially one who is leading the charge on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, a move that could lead to billions fewer dollars going to the states to cover health care. Flight delays and no-shows would not do. They said the flights appeared to violate federal law created to make sure executive branch officials use the most economical travel available.

The agency declined to confirm details of the flight and who paid for them to Politico, only saying that Price travels on a private jet when commercial flights aren't feasible. One leg was from Dulles International Airport to Philadelphia International Airport, a distance of 135 miles.

On Thursday, 16 Democratic senators signed a letter to the Office of Management and Budget asking director Mick Mulvaney to provide information on policies that govern when cabinet officials can charter planes and for an explanation as to what OMB is doing to ensure that the travel complies with existing rules and regulations.

That was not the case with Price's flights, Sen.

Charter plane operators interviewed for Politico's story say the flights cost over $10,000 a piece. But numerous flights are between large cities with frequent, low-priced airline traffic, such as a trip from Washington to Nashville that the secretary took on June 6 to make a morning event at a medication distributor and an afternoon speech.

A Gowdy spokeswoman didn't immediately return a request for comment.

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Air traffic control records reviewed by The Post show the flight took off from Dulles International Airport and touched down in ME on September 13.

Both U.S. senators, Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, have called for Price to release additional information about the trips.

Soon afterward, reports revealed Mnuchin and Linton had requested a military jet to fly them to their European honeymoon over the summer. That trip prompted a federal watchdog this month to review the circumstances surrounding the travel.

The most frequent justification used by executive branch officials is a lack of comparable options to accommodate the schedule for a trip.

What is the minimum cost of chartering a flight anywhere? The travel included an estimated $25,000 round trip from Washington, D.C., to nearby Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, the New Hampshire appearance, she said, was to present $144 million in grant funding for services to combat opiod addition. The flights in total cost as much as $60,000.

"The Secretary has taken commercial flights for official business after his confirmation".

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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