CONTACT: Jordan Libowitz
202-408-5565 | [email protected]
Washington—Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has billed taxpayers for the most expensive flight options available at every turn, appearing to never even consider flying commercial as his predecessors did, according to previously unreleased documents obtained by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).
CREW filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for Mnuchin’s flight records following a military jet trip to Fort Knox, KY with his wife, Louise Linton, which coincided with the eclipse. The Treasury Department failed to turn over any records, leading CREW to sue. Months later, CREW received records which, though heavily redacted, showed that Mnuchin apparently abused his access to military and non-commercial aircraft for both business travel and occasional personal travel.
“From the documents we obtained, it appears Secretary Mnuchin considers first and foremost his own comfort and ease, leaving the protection of taxpayer money at the bottom of his list of priorities,” CREW Chief FOIA Counsel Anne Weismann said.
The documents CREW obtained show that between the spring and fall of 2017, Mnuchin took eight separate trips on military aircraft at a total of nearly $1 million. None of the requests for White House Mission designation — needed to use the government aircraft — explicitly state or otherwise suggest how they are at the explicit direction of the president.
“The public still has no reasonable explanation for why Secretary Mnuchin apparently has never used commercial aircraft while his predecessors did, or why he needs military aircraft that can accommodate 120 passengers when his travel manifests contain far fewer names,” Weismann said.