A new set of documents obtained by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington shows that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spent nearly $1 million in taxpayer dollars on eight trips, opting for military aircraft over commercial flights.
Through a Freedom of Information Act request and subsequent lawsuit, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington obtained emails and other documents that detail how Mnuchin “apparently abused his access to military and non-commercial aircraft for both business travel and occasional personal travel,” according to CREW’s press release. Last August, Mnuchin was criticized for taking a military jet with his wife, Louise Linton, to Fort Knox, Kentucky, around the time of the eclipse.
Mnuchin’s flights include:
- A $15,112 trip to New York for a meeting with the president at Trump Tower to “discuss pending issues regarding tax reform and tariffs.”
- A $16,350 trip to Ottawa, Canada, last June for 20 people, including Linton and members of the press.
- A $33,046 flight to Louisville and Fort Knox in August for “for official events with Majority Leader McConnell, U.S. Representative Guthrie, and other potential officials.” A military plane was needed “due to scheduling, logistics, and communications needs.” Mnuchin also took a $94,100 flight to Parkersburg, West Virginia, and Las Vegas “for official events with Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Senator Joe Manchin, and Congressman David McKinley in WV and Senator Dean Heller in NV.”
- That same month, the Treasury Department requested that Mnuchin and his wife be allowed to fly on a military jet “for a personal junket to Edinburgh, Great Britain; Paris, France; Gargnano, Italy; and Milan, Italy that was, in fact, their honeymoon trip.” Mnuchin said at a Politico event that he withdrew the request after he found another option. CREW noted that the documentation it received did not reflect the change.
- A $45,136 military flight to Miami for the Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America and a meeting with Jose Antonio, Mexico’s finance minister. The trip would have cost $688 per person on a commercial flight.
- A weeklong $183,646 trip to the Middle East for “bilats and press conferences with government officials and participate in business roundtables with local/international business leaders.” Jared Kushner and then-deputy National Security Adviser tagged along for each leg of the trip.
- A $301,167 three-day trip to the United Kingdom and Germany last March for meetings.
- A $314,000 trip to Bari, Italy, for the G-7 finance ministers meeting on a military aircraft. CREW noted that the original request for a flight included an ask for a “C-40B/C if aircraft is available” but the trip was taken on a smaller transport craft that fit 45 people. “The initial request for the larger C-40 that can accommodate 120 passengers (or 8 pallets of cargo/some combination therein) for a trip with a manifest that included 24 names (UST 000052-53) is puzzling at best,” CREW noted.
Mnuchin has joined a growing list of President Donald Trump’s current and former cabinet members who have come under fire for excessive spending on travel and in-office renovations using public funds. Most recently, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson was criticized after he and his wife spent $31,000 on a dining set. In September, Tom Price resigned from his post as Health and Human Services Secretary after Politico discovered that he spent more than $1 million on overseas and domestic travel.