Tom Price resigned as Secretary of Health and Human Services on Friday 29th August 2017, following criticism of his use of private jets and military aircraft for travel.
Politico had a series of reports in September 2017, that since May 2017, Price had spent more than $1 million of department funds for his travel on private charter jets and military aircraft.
A lot of the flights were between cities that are accessible by train or car and frequent, low-cost commercial airline service was available. Five Democratic Congressmen requested an inspector general’s investigation into Price’s use of private jets.
The use of private planes by Price was legal but has been criticized by ethics experts as a misuse of taxpayer funds.
Price’s spokesperson justified his use of private jets as a precaution, given that he was once unable to attend an important meeting because of the cancellation of a commercial flight.
Politico, however, noted that the canceled flight in question was canceled because air travel in the region had been virtually shut down in the region at that time, preventing even private jets from flying.
In 2009 when Price was a congressman, Price himself criticized government’s officials who use private jets.He called it “fiscal irresponsibility run amok”.
After Politico’s report on the matter, Price stated that he would stop taking taxpayer-funded private jet flights pending a review by his department’s inspector general.
President Donald Trump said that he was not happy about Price’s expenditures, but declined to state whether Price would be fired.
Price later said that he would reimburse taxpayers with the sum of $51,887, which he calculated as the cost of his seat on the more than $400,000 worth of charter flights he took and also promised to discontinue the use of private charter flights for his travel.
However, later that day after Price made the promise of reimbursement, it was revealed that his expenditures were more than $1million and include flights taken by Price and his wife to Africa and Europe.