Rick Perry's travel cost Energy Department $63,560 during first 7 months in office: report

Rick Perry's travel cost Energy Department $63,560 during first 7 months in office: report
© Greg Nash

The Energy Department spent at least $63,560 on first or business class flights for Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick PerryOvernight Energy: Perry replacement faces Ukraine questions at hearing | Dem chair demands answers over land agency's relocation | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders unveil 0B Green New Deal public housing plan Ex-Ukraine ambassador testifies in impeachment hearing: Five things to watch Perry replacement moves closer to confirmation despite questions on Ukraine MORE in his first seven months in office, according to an ABC News report

Agency records reported by ABC News show that coach fares were available for the 12 flights taken by the secretary in the 2017 fiscal year, but that premium or first-class seating was approved for security reasons. 

The premium fares added an additional $51,000 to the total cost of the travel, compared to coach ticket prices.

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Perry's predecessor, Ernest MonizErnest Jeffrey MonizAl Franken to host SiriusXM radio show Two years after Harvey's devastation, the wake-up call has not been heeded Biden under pressure from environmentalists on climate plan MORE, also racked up tens of thousands of dollars on premium fares during his final months in office, according to ABC News. In the last three months of 2016, the agency spent more than $42,500 on premium flights for Moniz, also citing security reasons.

The documents did not include information on Moniz's travel prior to the beginning of the 2017 fiscal year, ABC reported. 

While federal officials are required to go with the cheapest fares when traveling, federal rules allow officials to travel in business class or first class if there are "exceptional security circumstances" or if the trip is longer than 14 hours.

Other Trump administration officials have come under scrutiny for high travel expenses.

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom PriceThomas (Tom) Edmunds PriceOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Warren faces tough choices on 'Medicare for All' funding | Dems demand answers on Tom Price's charter flights | Medicaid expansion nears 2020 ballot in Oklahoma Senate Democrats demand answers on payment for Tom Price's charter flights Industrial food system is at the heart of biodiversity degradation and climate change MORE resigned last year amid scrutiny over his costly travel expenses, including the use of private jets. 

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Trump officials suspend oil, gas production on Utah plots after lawsuit | California bucks Trump on lightbulb rollback | Scientists join Dems in panning EPA's 'secret science' rule Scientists join Democrats in panning EPA's 'secret science' rule Overnight Energy: BLM staff face choice of relocation or resignation as agency moves | Trump says he's 'very much into climate' | EPA rule would expand limits on scientific studies MORE has also come under fire for his use of business class and first class fares while traveling.