Under the Freedom of Information Act, CREW Requests:
- Copies of all records concerning authorization for and the costs of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s use of non-commercial aircraft for any official travel since his confirmation on April 24, 2017. This includes all such authorizations Secretary Perdue or anyone acting on behalf of Secretary Perdue sought, whether or not such authorization was granted.
- Records sufficient to show the amount of money budgeted for Secretary Perdue’s travel, whether on a yearly or fiscal year basis, for 2017 and 2018, and the amount budgeted for the Secretary’s travel for 2016.
Recent news reports have focused on the use by agency heads of non-commercial aircraft for official government travel. For example, it was recently reported that HHS Secretary Tom Price traveled by private jet on five separate flights during a one-week period, all at a cost of thousands of dollars in excess of what commercial flights would have cost. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has been criticized for his use of a private plane to travel to Lexington, Kentucky, during which he took in the solar eclipse at Fort Knox with his wife, and his earlier request to travel by government plane for his honeymoon. Secretary Perdue’s twitter account, @SecretarySonny, documents 38 trips since taking office, including one to South Carolina where he viewed the solar eclipse.
The requested records would shed light on whether Secretary Perdue, like other cabinet heads, has traveled on non-commercial flights for official business. At a time of expected deep cuts to the federal budget, the taxpayers have a significant interest in learning the extent to which Secretary Perdue has government fund for travel and the justification for that use.