Tom Price, the Health and Human Services Secretary in Trump’s cabinet, flies really friendly skies! Politico just revealed that he has taken at least 24 flights on private charter planes since early May. These flights come at a significant expense to taxpayers.
The Georgia Republican has flown at the expense of $300,000 according to a review of federal contracts.
Price’s predecessors, Sylvia Mathews Burwell and Kathleen Sebelius, flew commercially in the continental United States. Officials in Price’s department said that the secretary only uses private jets when commercial travel is not feasible. But many of his flights were between the major cities with significant air traffic, like Washington to Nashville. That was a trip that Price took on June 6th for a morning speech at a medication distributor. Four regular nonstop flights leave D.C. area airports between 6:59 am and 8:50 am. A roundtrip flight commercially might cost as little as $200, but Price’s charter jet costs $17,760.
Now, some of the criticism is valid; our government officials should be using the most frugal methods to travel or pay their way. However, with all the mass criticism coming from the left its funny how they are leaving out one thing…..Senator Bob Menendez.
Senator Bob Menendez is currently on trial for as prosecutors claim “sold his office for a lifestyle he couldn’t afford.” CNN reports:
After Menendez was elected to the US Senate in 2006, prosecutors say in the brief that Melgen (a wealthy friend) began “a pattern of treating Menendez to weekend and week-long getaways in the Dominican Republic that would continue for the next several years.”
Melgen allegedly flew Menendez on his own private jet or on “equally luxurious travel” to his villa at Case de Campo, a luxurious resort in the Dominican Republic featuring amenities from beaches to polo fields. At one point, Melgen allegedly purchased a three-night hotel stay for Menendez at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Paris. Prosecutors say that Menendez never acknowledged these gifts on his annual financial disclosure forms.
Melgen also donated heavily to Menendez’s campaign and legal defense funds. At one point, Melgen donated more than $770,000 to various funds supporting Menendez over a five-month period.
In return, prosecutors say, Menendez acted in his “official capacity” to help Melgen — a key hook for legal liability. After a Dominican company, purchased by Melgen, that had the exclusive right to install and operate x-ray imaging equipment in the Dominican Republic ran into a dispute with the government, Menendez allegedly “exerted substantial pressure on the State Department to intervene with the Dominican government to resolve the dispute in Melgen’s favor,” according to the brief.Prosecutors also allege that Menendez pressured then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to intervene with Melgen’s billing dispute. In addition to personally calling the head of CMS and requesting that they carefully consider Menendez’s request, Reid also allegedly reached out to the Obama White House to “help amplify the pressure on CMS” in 2011.
“(T)he majority leader reached out to the White House deputy chief of staff, informing that Menendez was upset about how a Florida ophthalmologist was being treated by CMS and asking that she call the agency,” according to prosecutors. “Recognizing that the matter involved a dispute between a single doctor and an administrative agency, not a policy matter, the White House deputy chief of staff demurred.”
Beyond business matters, Menendez also allegedly got involved at different points in the visa cases of three international women, all allegedly girlfriends of Melgen’s. The women, from Ukraine, Brazil and the Dominican Republic, were all attempting to visit Melgen in the United States.
Menendez allegedly lobbied ambassadors and other officials in support of their visa applications, even intervening after one of Melgen’s girlfriends and her sister, both from the Dominican Republic, had their visas denied.
When asked about Senator Menendez even Chuck Schumer had an issue responding to the question:
Look government waste, is government waste and it needs to be stopped and that is something we can all agree on. But, before we all loose our minds over Mr. Price legally (wastefully) using a private charter and publically disclosing it let us not forget a Senator who is probably going to jail. Oh, and by the way that Mr. Menendez issues were started by the Obama Administration.