The Transportation Division’s inner watchdog mentioned Monday that it’ll evaluation using authorities jets by its prime official, Pete Buttigieg, and his predecessor within the Trump administration.
The inspector normal plans to “conduct an audit to find out whether or not the Workplace of the Secretary complied with Federal laws, insurance policies, and procedures” associated to government journey on the division’s plane, in keeping with a memo launched Monday.
The audit, which was requested by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., will deal with official journeys taken since Jan. 31, 2017, when former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao was sworn into workplace, the memo says.
Rubio requested in December that the watchdog decide whether or not Buttigieg has complied with federal guidelines and division insurance policies for home and worldwide journey.
In his letter to the watchdog, Rubio cited a Fox Information article that mentioned Buttigieg had taken 18 flights on “taxpayer-funded personal jets.”
The Transportation Division mentioned Monday that Buttigieg took 18 flights on Federal Aviation Administration planes over seven journeys.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, additionally questioned Buttigieg’s air journey in a letter to the transportation secretary final month.
Buttigieg mentioned Monday that the audit would assist debunk “deceptive narratives.”
“Backside line: I principally fly on industrial flights, in financial system class. And after I do use our company’s plane, it’s normally a scenario the place doing so saves taxpayer cash,” he tweeted.
A spokesperson mentioned the Transportation Division welcomed the audit “with a purpose to put a number of the false, outlandish, and cynical claims in regards to the Secretary’s mode of journey to relaxation.”
“The very fact stays that he flies commercially the overwhelming majority of the time,” the spokesperson mentioned. “The exceptions have been when the Division’s profession ethics officers, who’ve served below each Democratic and Republican administrations, decided that using a 9-seat FAA aircraft can be both more economical or must be authorized for distinctive scheduling or safety causes.”
Buttigieg has confronted criticism following widespread industrial flight cancellations and delays final 12 months. Extra lately, congressional Republicans like Rubio have referred to as on Buttigieg to resign over his response to the Norfolk Southern practice derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, this month, which prompted a poisonous chemical spill that has endangered residents and wildlife.
Chao didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon the deliberate audit.