The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Inspector General has announced a new audit into Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s excessive use of private jets.
Two months ago, Fox News Digital released a report that showed Buttigieg had taken at least 18 flights using taxpayer-funded private jets since he took office in 2021. Meanwhile, the hypocritical transportation secretary calls for aggressive action to combat climate change.
The records of Buttigieg’s private jet travel were obtained by the government watchdog group Americans for Public trust (APT).
After the report was released, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) requested that the DOT Inspector General open the investigation into Buttigieg.
Rubio questioned Buttigieg’s excessive use of private jet travel, saying, “It is unclear why Secretary Buttigieg would require such costly travel in these instances when more economical options were reportedly available.”
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On Monday, APT executive director Caitlin Sutherland said, “After Americans for Public Trust helped determine Secretary Buttigieg’s excessive use of taxpayer-funded government jets, we are pleased to see that his air travel is now under investigation.”
“Everyday Americans have faced unprecedented flight cancelation and disruption, but Buttigieg has continued to fly private, even on a Coast Guard plane and even when commercial options were readily available,” Sutherland added.
A DOT spokesperson commented on the audit, saying, “We welcome this independent audit moving forward in order to put some of the false, outlandish, and cynical claims about the Secretary’s mode of travel to rest. The fact remains that he flies commercially the vast majority of the time.”
“The exceptions have been when the Department’s career ethics officials, who have served under both Democratic and Republicans administrations, determined that the use of a 9-seat FAA plane would be either more cost-effective or should be approved for exceptional scheduling or security reasons,” the spokesperson added.
Buttigieg also commented on the investigation, tweeting that he usually uses government-managed private jets in situations “where doing so saves taxpayer money” and insisting that the investigation will prove that the accusations against him are “misleading.”
Glad this will be reviewed independently so misleading narratives can be put to rest.
Bottom line: I mostly fly on commercial flights, in economy class. And when I do use our agency’s aircraft, it’s usually a situation where doing so saves taxpayer money. https://t.co/wUtBtjx9CT
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) February 27, 2023
Elaine Chao, who led the DOT prior to Buttigieg, faced similar criticism from the public after she used government-managed planes seven times in 2017, costing American taxpayers about $94,000.
In another, more extreme case, the former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price was force to resign after it was revealed his private jet usage cost taxpayers over $1 million.