BREAKING: Inspector General finds 341k of personal travel by ousted Health Secretary, Tom Price, paid for by US taxpayers.— ?? ???????????????? ?????????? ?? (@ItsMeCathi) July 13, 2018
In my opinion, he has two choices, pay back the money or go to jail for abusing his post. Or preferably both. #LockHimUp pic.twitter.com/erZLrWtnqc
A government audit unveiled just how much taxpayer money former Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price spent on trips, and the figure almost sounds too high to be true.
After an audit into the HHS expenditure related to travel expenses, the Office of the Inspector General discovered that the agency under Price spent more than $1 million on travel bills related to 21 trips made in less than eight months. About $340,000 of the total travel expenses were considered wasteful by auditors.
But perhaps what’s even worse is to think that his office often failed to check for commercial flight alternatives that could have been more affordable, choosing to, instead, always go with the most expensive option.
On at least three trips, the audit found that HHS under Price decided to use the most costly private jet option instead of going with the more affordable aircraft.
In one case, the agency went with a company that cost the government $120,000, even though HHS had also obtained a quote for roughly $76,000 for the same flight.
In the end, $1.2 million of government money was used solely on airfare, with $456,000 being spent on private jets alone.
So far, Price has repaid the government $60,000, but HHS has yet to be reimbursed for many of the expenses his wife is responsible for. And while Price is gone and the HHS travel scandal appears to be over for now, it’s clear that deep changes are needed.
The lack of oversight gave the agency the opportunity to act recklessly, and out of the 21 trips, only one fully complied with the government’s own travel rules.
Democrats are set to dig deeper into the waste this fall in a series of oversight hearings, and they might not be too kind to President Donald Trump for picking secretaries like Price and former EPA head Scott Pruitt, who have done nothing but waste tax dollars.