Oversight Dem demands info on Conway's private flights with Tom Price

Oversight Dem demands info on Conway's private flights with Tom Price
© Greg Nash

White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayTrump 2020 campaign manager hits George Conway: 'Think how bad of a husband you have to be' Trump’s polls sag amid wall fight George Conway: Nothing Trump says 'can be taken at face value' MORE flew on several of the same private flights as former Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom PriceThomas (Tom) Edmunds PriceTrump’s shifting Cabinet to introduce new faces Cummings sends 51 letters to White House, others requesting compliance with document requests Interior chief Zinke to leave administration MORE, but has yet to reimburse the federal government for her share of the costs, House Democrats revealed Tuesday.

Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsOvernight Health Care: Dem chair plans hearing on Medicare for all | Senate GOP talks drug prices with Trump health chief | PhRMA CEO hopeful Trump reverses course on controversial pricing proposal Key House Dem: I don't want to 'punish' drug companies House Dems fire first salvo in drug pricing fight MORE (Md.), the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, accused the White House of stonewalling the investigation into how much the flights cost and called on the panel’s chairman, Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyCongress must take the next steps on federal criminal justice reforms Lynch testimony marks final interview of GOP-led probe Comey defends FBI actions on Flynn in House interview MORE (R-S.C.), to issue a subpoena.

“The White House has completely stonewalled our requests for documents,” Cummings said in a letter to Gowdy. “If you do not issue a subpoena at this point, it will be obvious to the White House and the American people that the Committee has no intention of serving as a true check on the Executive Branch.”

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Price resigned Sept. 29 after an investigation by Politico found that his use of military flights and private planes has cost taxpayers more than $1 million.

He held the job for less than 10 months, but in that time he traveled to Asia, Africa and Europe on official business aboard military aircraft, the investigation found. His wife, Betty Price, a physician and Georgia state representative, accompanied him on those trips as an adviser.

The trips on military aircraft were approved by the White House.

Conway is leading the White House efforts to combat the opioid crisis. According to documents reviewed by Cummings, Conway accompanied Price on several trips last spring and summer relating to the administration’s opioid response that included stops in Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Cummings said that Conway and "several staff" accompanied Price on flights on May 9 and May 10. The total cost of those flights for all passengers was $44,531.45.

On July 6, Price and Conway also traveled roundtrip from Washington, D.C., to Chattanooga, Tenn. The total cost of these flights for all passengers was $14,569.90. Cummings said the pair flew together again in mid-September to Philadelphia, but the cost was not reported to the committee.

Cummings has repeatedly asked the White House for information about Conway’s presence on the flights ever since the committee’s investigation began last fall.

“To date, the White House has refused to provide any documents at all, including those relating to Ms. Conway’s participation in these trips, whether she intends to repay the taxpayers for the cost of her travel, or whether the President is considering any disciplinary action against her in light of his decision to fire Secretary Price for participating in the same trips,” Cummings wrote.

The Hill reported in December that Price sent three separate checks to the U.S. Treasury on Sept. 28 for a total of nearly $60,000.

A check for $1,489 was written to cover Betty Price's seat on a trip to Asia, while a check for $6,013.66 was written to cover her seat on a trip to Africa. Tom Price also wrote a $51,887.31 check for his share of the domestic flights aboard a chartered jet.

Price’s travel expenditures are the subject of an ongoing investigation by the HHS Office of Inspector General.

Cummings noted that Conway has been cited “repeatedly” for multiple ethics violations at the White House, including as recently as last week.