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$139,000 Doors & $31,000 Dining Sets: Cabinet Members Accused of Misspending Taxpayer Dollars

by Countable | Updated on 3.14.18

UPDATE - March 14, 2018: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has argued he never took a private jet because the planes he traveled on were driven by propellers, not jet engines.

  • Zinke made the comments during a Congressional hearing about his use of taxpayer dollars for a number of chartered flights, including a $12,375 flight from Las Vegas to Montana.

  • “I never took a private jet anywhere,” Zinke told Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, the ranking Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. "To allege that it’s a private jet is inappropriate, ma'am.”

  • Zinke argued that reports labeling propeller planes as private jets were "insults and innuendos."

Read Countable's original story below.


What’s the story?

  • Last week, it was reported that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s office upgraded three sets of double doors at a cost of $139,000.

  • Zinke is one of several Trump administration officials accused of lavish spending.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke

  • The Associated Press reported in December that Zinke spent over $53,000 on three helicopters trips.

  • The Interior Department’s Deputy Inspector General is also looking at trips like Zinke’s $12,000 chartered flight from Las Vegas to Montana.

Scott Pruitt, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator

  • Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and his top aides spent over $90,000 on travel costs – including flying first class and on military jets - during the early weeks of June 2017.

Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Steve Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury

  • The Treasury’s Office of Inspector General is reviewing a flight that Mnuchin and his wife took to Fort Knox before the solar eclipse last August.

David Shulkin, Secretary of Veterans Affairs

  • An inspector general’s report found that Shulkin improperly accepted Wimbledon tickets and airfare for his wife during a 2017 European trip.

  • The trip cost taxpayers over $122,000.

Tom Price, former Secretary of Health and Human Services

  • In September, Price resigned from the HHS amid scrutiny of the chartering of private jets and military aircraft to fulfill his cabinet duties.

  • His flights, domestically and internationally, cost taxpayers upwards of a $1 million dollars.

What do you think?

Is this use of taxpayer money to fund private and first-class travel for cabinet members appropriate? What about redecorating costs? Should these cabinet members have to reimburse the government? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

Related Reading

(Photo Credit: MediaProduction / iStock)

Countable

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(186)
  • Robert
    03/14/2018
    ···

    Maybe that’s why so many people think GOP stands for greedy old parasites. Lock ‘em up!

    Like (84)
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  • Mark
    03/13/2018
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    Flying first class, extravagant double doors, expensive dining sets, and trips to Mar-a-lago. The corruption within the Trump administration is blatant. Tax payer dollars cannot be wasted in such a way. Lock them up.

    Like (77)
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  • Chuck
    03/13/2018
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    Corruption starts at the top. This administration will go down as the most corrupt ever

    Like (64)
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  • KansasTamale
    03/13/2018
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    Would have been nice if that money were used to help get electricity back to Puerto Rico or put into the school funds or helped people get housing. What a deplorable mess.

    Like (49)
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  • Sally
    03/13/2018
    ···

    Senator Graham, as I read about how the President’s Cabinet is spending tax payer money and the cost of the President’s frequent trips to Florida, I can’t help thinking about a paragraph in your latest letter to me. I have copied it below. What is going on? “ I am committed to getting our nation's fiscal house in order. Government spending has increased at a rate that is detrimental to future generations of Americans. The American people must find ways to live within their budgets, and I believe Congress should too. Our current fiscal crisis demands careful and sober reflection regarding our nation's spending habits”

    Like (47)
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  • Dan
    03/14/2018
    ···

    #LockThemUp! The Trump administration is like the Romanovs of Russia...and we know how that ended.

    Like (35)
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  • Robert
    03/13/2018
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    Obviously a different idea of what we had of draining the swamp

    Like (32)
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  • Diane
    03/13/2018
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    There needs to be a set of guidelines for administration spending, including limits on cost. Then there needs to be a semi-annual GAO or CBO review of that spending. Ridiculous! This administration IS the “deep state” swamp!

    Like (31)
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  • I.Got.an.Idea...
    03/13/2018
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    $139,000 is more expensive than many American’s homes. $31,000 is about the average American annual salary. Republicans are disgusting and out of touch with reality. This is unethical and immoral behavior, acts and practices. Every unethical Congress member, Government official, Government staffer, Government employee should be immediately terminated.

    Like (28)
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  • Ben
    03/14/2018
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    I thought corrupt officials were a trait of third world countries. Since our representatives have not proven responsible we must start limiting contact between the government and the corporations.

    Like (27)
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  • Dara
    03/13/2018
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    More SWAMP. trump is just another lyin’ self serving politician. His cabinet is a reflection of his narcissism, let them eat cake. SAD.

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  • Kristina
    03/14/2018
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    LOCK THEM ALL UP ...this is utterly ridiculous

    Like (24)
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  • BeStrong
    03/13/2018
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    What a bunch of self entitled rich a-holes.

    Like (23)
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  • Andy1
    03/13/2018
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    This is what you get when you elect the guy with gold toilets. Honestly, how dumb are trump voters to have fallen for this mediocre (at best) con-man? But they can rest assured that they’re at least getting screwed by a white man.

    Like (21)
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  • Sara
    03/14/2018
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    All of these expenses incurred by cabinet officials should be repaid out of their own pockets!

    Like (16)
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  • Pat
    03/13/2018
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    Should we be Suprised? The system is broken and its like the wild west. Meanwhile, there are no real consequences for their actions. I wonder how many more politicians are doing the same thing.

    Like (15)
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  • Surender
    03/14/2018
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    Folks please remember all of this in November and every opportunity you get to vote. Venting is great but action yields results. You know what needs to be done and PLEASE get your family friends and neighbors to do the same!

    Like (15)
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  • Lando
    03/14/2018
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    Why is anybody surprised by rich, white people in power abusing their power and furthering their own wealth at the expense of the populace? That’s woven into the fabric of this country. The only way it will stop is if: 1) Congress gets a backbone and stops letting lobbyists and special interests control them, 2) People make noise during the midterms. Rewrite the narrative or the narrative continues to write itself as it always has.

    Like (14)
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  • Tayler
    03/14/2018
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    Meanwhile were cutting social welfare benefits, school funding, and using $18 billion to build a wall.

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  • Jon-michael
    03/13/2018
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    I still can’t figure out why our national debt keeps increasing. Maybe our politicians can figure it out in their private flights and behind their $139,000 doors.

    Like (13)
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