Oversight panel to investigate Cabinet officials using private planes

The House Oversight Committee will investigate the use of private jet travel by Cabinet officials.

The committee on Wednesday sent letters to the White House and 24 federal agencies requesting information related to senior officials’ use of government-owned aircraft or private non-commercial aircraft for official and personal travel.

The investigation comes amid scrutiny of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom PriceThomas (Tom) Edmunds PriceHHS nominee Azar made millions working for drugmaker Lilly Government travel paid for by taxpayers must be accountable Overnight Health Care: Mandate repeal sparks fears of premium hikes | HHS nominee to get Senate hearing this month | Trump officials eye work requirements for Medicaid recipients MORE and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinAnalysis: House GOP tax bill adds .3T to the deficit Mnuchin: Comparisons to James Bond villain a compliment Sunday shows preview: GOP gears up for Senate tax reform push MORE taking government-owned or charter jets at taxpayers' expense when there were commercial flight options that were much cheaper.

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The Oversight panel asked the White House and the federal agencies to provide information about every time a “non-career” official used a noncommercial aircraft, including how much the flight cost, who else was on the plane and the purpose of the trip.

Lawmakers asked for the administration to provide answers by Oct. 10.

Price has come under fire in recent days after Politico reported that he has flown on private charter jets at least 24 times since taking office, including $300,000 worth of flights since early May.

Price’s flights are now the subject of an investigation by his department's inspector general. Price said this week he will stop using charter flights but has suggested that the accusations are politically motivated by critics of the Trump administration.

During one government-funded trip in August, Price reportedly flew to visit his property on St. Simons Island, Ga., while traveling to a medical conference. He also had lunch with his son in Tennessee during a trip to tour a medicine dispensary. 

The Treasury Department's inspector general is also probing a trip Mnuchin and his wife, Louise Linton, took to Kentucky aboard a government airplane, which coincided with the total solar eclipse last month.

Updated: 11:20 p.m.