Donald Trump's Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin spent $800,000 on seven flights using military jets

Air travel inquiry prompted by wife Louise Linton's Instagram post boasting about luxurious lifestyle. Pair were previously refused request to take Government plane on honeymoon

Alan Rappeport
Friday 06 October 2017 14:56 BST
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin descending from Air Force One last month. One of his round-trip flights from Washington to New York cost $15,000
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin descending from Air Force One last month. One of his round-trip flights from Washington to New York cost $15,000 (Tom Brenner/The New York Times)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has flown on military aircraft seven times since March at a cost of more than $800,000, including a $15,000 round-trip flight to New York to meet with President Donald Trump at Trump Tower, according to the Treasury Department’s Office of Inspector General.

The inquiry into Mnuchin’s air travel, prompted by an Instagram posting by his wife, found he broke no laws in his use of military aircraft but lamented the loose justification provided for such costly flights.

“What is of concern is a disconnect between the standard of proof called for” by the Office of Management and Budget “and the actual amount of proof provided by Treasury and accepted by the White House in justifying these trip requests,” the Inspector General wrote.

Mnuchin has made nine requests for military aircraft since assuming his position earlier this year and has taken seven flights. A request to use a military plane for his European honeymoon with his wife, Louise Linton, in August was withdrawn. A ninth flight is scheduled for later this month, when Mnuchin is expected to travel to the Middle East.

The investigation follows a series of controversies over the lavish travel of several members of Trump’s Cabinet, including Tom Price, the Health and Human Services Secretary, who resigned last week after racking up at least $400,000 in travel bills for chartered flights.

Ryan Zinke, the Interior Secretary, used a chartered airplane for several flights, including a $12,000 trip to deliver a speech celebrating a new professional hockey team in Las Vegas. Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, has spent more than $58,000 on chartered and military flights, and David Shulkin, the Veterans Affairs secretary, took his wife on a 10-day trip to Europe that mixed business meetings and sightseeing, according to The Washington Post.

The Treasury report found no instances in which Mnuchin used military aircraft for private travel.

Mnuchin’s air accommodations attracted attention in August after Linton accompanied him on a trip to Kentucky to visit the gold reserves at Fort Knox.

The New York Times

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