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

by Countable | 3.12.18

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

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(Photo Credit: MediaProduction / iStock)

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