Whether you are Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, Alt Right or Communist, ask yourself this: do you really want your government leaders traveling lavishly on the taxpayer’s dime?
U.S. President Donald Trump made “draining the swamp” a central campaign theme. He promised to rid the federal government of waste and scrupulously care for taxpayer money, as if it was his own business.
But a Washington Post expose on Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt reveals an opulent travel budget with even the shortest trips in the comfort of first class.
For example, taxpayers paid $1641.43 for a first class seat from Washington, DC to New York last June. This cost six times more than what his aides paid for an economy class seat.
Two days later, he flew an Air Force charter from Cincinnati to New York at a cost of $36,068.50…for the 590-mile flight. He then flew to Rome on Delta…at a cost of $7,003.52…for a personal tour of the Vatican and then to the G7 summit in Bologna. He departed the conference early.
All that travel in early June totaled up to more than $90,000. Ask yourself this: is this necessary? Is this how taxpayer dollars should be allocated in a time in which there are so many pressing needs and the deficit is rapidly growing?
But wait, there’s more. $4,443 for a trip to Alabama on Delta. $2,600 a pop for trips to Tulsa, his home, for “meetings”. $4,680.04 for a trip to Salt Lake City. $10,830 on a trip to Colorado, Iowa, North Dakota, and Texas. We’re only talking airfare here…
Unsurprisingly, he also stays in the best hotels in each city he visits.
Then there’s the issue of airline. Despite contracted rates on other airlines, he routinely chooses Delta. When asked about it, an EPA spokesman simply stated, “EPA staff seek cost-efficient travel options at all times.”
“It’s for My Security”
While I can understand why an environmental protection official seeking to dismantle federal regulations protecting the environment might fear public scorn, it’s disgusting how the EPA defends Pruitt’s travel.
Let’s take a step back. Federal regulations govern when/how public officials should travel in forward cabins. As the Washington Post reports:
Federal regulations state that government travelers are required to “exercise the same care in incurring expenses that a prudent person would exercise if traveling on personal business . . . and therefore, should consider the least expensive class of travel that meets their needs.” Agencies are allowed to authorize first-class travel in rare instances, such as a flight of 14 hours or more, a medical disability or when “exceptional security circumstances” mean “use of coach class accommodations would endanger your life or government property.”
Did you catch that? A flight from DC to New York is not 14 hours long and Pruitt is very healthy. Thus, every first class jaunt around the world is labeled an “exceptional security circumstances”. Clearly Pruitt is receiving counsel from Kenneth Copeland and Jesse Duplantis.
In all seriousness, Pruitt claims he has to fly in first class from Washington to New York because “the use of coach class accommodations would endanger [his] life or government property.” I’m disgusted.
Well, at least Pruitt flies primarily commercial domestically instead of private…he’s got one up on disgraced Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price.
But he’s planning on trips to Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, Mexico. Look for him in Delta Business on all these flights…he’s got to re-qualify for Diamond status after all.
I view this as a non-partisan issue that every American should be outraged about. What do you think? Do you like your tax dollars spent on lavish travel for officials who claim to be humble public servants?
image: Scott Pruitt / CC 2.0