Transportation Dept. watchdog to audit Buttigieg’s air travel

The Transportation Department’s internal watchdog explained Monday that it will overview the use of governing administration jets by its major official, Pete Buttigieg, and his predecessor from the Trump administration.

The inspector standard designs to “conduct an audit to identify irrespective of whether the Business of the Secretary complied with Federal regulations, policies, and procedures” connected to government journey on the department’s plane, according to a memo released Monday.

The audit, which was asked for by Sen. Marco Rubio, will concentration on official outings taken given that Jan. 31, 2017, when former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao was sworn into business office, the memo says.

Rubio, R-Fla., requested in December that the watchdog establish whether Buttigieg has complied with federal guidelines and office procedures for domestic and international journey.

In his letter to the watchdog, Rubio cited a Fox Information article that claimed Buttigieg experienced taken 18 flights on “taxpayer-funded private jets.”

The Transportation Office mentioned Monday that Buttigieg took 18 flights on FAA planes around the system of seven outings.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in January, also questioned Buttigieg’s air vacation in a letter to the transportation secretary very last thirty day period.

Buttigieg reported Monday that the audit would aid debunk “misleading narratives.”

“Bottom line: I typically fly on commercial flights, in financial system course. And when I do use our agency’s plane, it is generally a condition exactly where carrying out so saves taxpayer revenue,” he tweeted.

A Transportation Division spokesperson added that the office welcomed the audit “in order to set some of the bogus, outlandish, and cynical statements about the Secretary’s method of journey to relaxation.”

“The fact remains that he flies commercially the huge majority of the time,” the spokesperson said. “The exceptions have been when the Department’s career ethics officials, who have served beneath each Democratic and Republican administrations, determined that the use of a 9-seat FAA aircraft would be either more charge effective or really should be authorised for excellent scheduling or safety good reasons.”

Buttigieg has faced criticism pursuing widespread professional flight cancellations and delays very last yr. A lot more a short while ago, congressional Republicans like Rubio have identified as on Buttigieg to resign about his response to the Norfolk Southern prepare that derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, previously this thirty day period, triggering a toxic chemical spill that’s endangered residents and wildlife.

Francis McGee

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