Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was not breaking any laws when he used government aircraft, according to a report that follows an inquiry by his own department.
Since he took the top job at the Department of the Treasury in February, Mnuchin has made nine requests to use government planes, and eight were approved; the other — for his and his wife’s honeymoon to the U.K., France, and Italy in August — was withdrawn. The total cost of these trips came out to more than $800,000.
“I see no violation of law in these requests and uses,” Rich Delmar, counsel for the Office of Inspector General for Treasury, concluded in the 21-page report, but suggested that “more rigor will be required in future requests,” and that the Treasury Department’s watchdog “advise that future requests be ready to justify government air in greater detail, especially regarding cost comparisons and needs for security and other special factors.”
Scrutiny over Mnuchin’s travel is only the latest instance of potential controversy surrounding how the members of Trump’s cabinet choose to fly. Last Friday, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned after it was reported that he spent more than $1 million on private planes that ferried him as far away as Vietnam and China. (Price’s apology and offer to reimburse part of the cost of the trips did not rectify the situation.) Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and EPA chief Scott Pruitt remain subject to similar scrutiny.