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: Trump signs major conservation bill into law | Senate votes to confirm Energy's No. 2 official | Trump Jr. expresses opposition to Pebble Mine project Senate votes to confirm Energy's No. 2 official 4 Texas GOP congressional primary runoffs to watch 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 MonizOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Dems press Trump consumer safety nominee on chemical issues | Lawmakers weigh how to help struggling energy industry | 180 Democrats ask House leadership for clean energy assistance Lawmakers weigh how to help struggling energy industry The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Surgeon General stresses need to invest much more in public health infrastructure, during and after COVID-19; Fauci hopeful vaccine could be deployed in December 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 PriceCoronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Chris Christie Trump flails as audience dwindles and ratings plummet Tom Price: Here's how we can obtain more affordable care 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 PruittEPA looks to other statutes to expand scope of coming 'secret science' rule EPA ordered to reconsider New York efforts to tame downwind pollution OVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA declines to tighten smog standards amid pressure from green groups | Democrats split on Trump plan to use development funds for nuclear projects| Russian mining giant reports another fuel spill in Arctic MORE has also come under fire for his use of business class and first class fares while traveling.