Barney Frank says he made a mistake calling for curb to Geithner's travel

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is pulling his recommendation that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's travel costs be curbed to fight the deficit, saying now he had based it on "inadequate information."

Frank had previously told members of the supercommittee on deficit reduction that Geithner was over-using military aircraft for travel, and requiring him to fly commercial for business could save "several million dollars a year."

The call came as part of a series of deficit reduction recommendations Frank offered the supercommittee Thursday, alongside other ranking Democrats of House committees.


But now Frank is pulling that particular recommendation, adding that Geithner's travel habits do not need to be restrained.

"I made the mistake of acting on inadequate information," he said in a statement. "Based on the information I have now gotten — and that I should have looked into before — I now believe that the Secretary’s travel patterns are appropriate and do not need any mandated change from us."

In his original recommendation, Frank said Geithner was costing the government at least $150,000 every time he used a military craft to travel for business. He also said Geithner was continuing a travel policy, that was initiated by Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, who served under President George W. Bush.

But a Treasury spokesperson said Geithner already flies economy class on commercial airlines for all domestic flights. He only takes government aircraft on international trips if he plans to work while traveling, as is the practice of other secretaries in Obama's cabinet, the spokesperson added.

That practice had been used by Treasury Secretaries since at least Secretary Lloyd Bentsen, who served during the first two years of President Clinton's first term.