Top Dem demands answers: Did Price pay back for private travel?

Top Dem demands answers: Did Price pay back for private travel?
© Greg Nash

A top Democratic senator is demanding to know if former Health and Human Services (HHS) 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 has reimbursed taxpayers for his use of charter flights on official government business.

In a letter obtained by The Hill, Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayGOP senator: ObamaCare fix could be in funding bill Collins: Pass bipartisan ObamaCare bills before mandate repeal Murkowski: ObamaCare fix not a precondition for tax vote MORE (D-Wash.) on Tuesday asked 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 to confirm whether Price has in fact sent a check to the U.S. Treasury, and for how much.

“While Price may no longer be Secretary of HHS, he still has the responsibility to follow through on his commitment to repay the American public,” Murray wrote. “Anything less is a clear indication that Price was not in fact sorry for his abuse of taxpayer dollars, but was just sorry that he was caught.”

In addition, Murray asked if any other Cabinet members had reimbursed the government for their travels on military or charter flights.

Price was one of four Cabinet secretaries — including Mnuchin — who have been known to have used private or military planes instead of flying commercial while working for the government in some capacity.

Price resigned on Friday following a series of public rebukes from President Trump and GOP lawmakers.

Before he resigned, Price had promised to repay the cost of his travels with a personal check. However, HHS said he would only pay for the cost of “his share of the travel,” which amounts to just under $52,000.

The entire costs of his trips are estimated to be about $1 million.

Murray said Price’s plans to reimburse the government for only a fraction of the cost of the travel “is entirely inadequate.”

At the time of his confirmation, Price’s wealth was estimated at approximately $14 million, according to his financial disclosure forms.