Treasury watchdog opens probe into Mnuchin's flight on day of solar eclipse

Treasury watchdog opens probe into Mnuchin's flight on day of solar eclipse
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The Treasury Department's inspector general is reviewing a flight taken earlier this month to Kentucky by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and his wife, Louise Linton, on a government airplane, which involved a viewing of the solar eclipse. 

“We are reviewing the circumstances of the Secretary’s August 21 flight ... to determine whether all applicable travel, ethics, and appropriation laws and policies were observed,” counsel Rich Delmar said in a statement to The Washington Post on Thursday. 

“When our review is complete, we will advise the appropriate officials, in accordance with the Inspector General Act and established procedures,” Delmar continued. 

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Treasury officials have backed Mnuchin, saying the trip, which involved a visit to the U.S. gold supply at Fort Knox to watch the historic solar eclipse alongside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters MORE (R-Ky.), was "official government travel," according to the Post. 

“The Secretary of the Treasury at times needs to use a government aircraft to facilitate his travel schedule and to ensure uninterrupted access to secure communications,” a Treasury Department spokesperson said earlier this week, adding that the trip was approved by the White House and that Mnuchin had reimbursed the government for Linton's portion of the travel. 

News of the review comes after the couple fell under intense scrutiny when Linton posted a photo of her and Mnuchin leaving an airplane on Instagram, in which she included hashtags for expensive fashion labels such as #rolandmouret, #hermesscarf, #tomford and #valentino.

Linton garnered more controversy when she responded to an Instagram commenter who said “glad we could pay for your little getaway," calling the user "adorably out of touch," adding that her and Mnuchin "sacrifice" more to the U.S. government.

Linton later apologized for the response.