Pete Buttigieg has involved himself in yet another scandal.
He’s allegedly misused government resources.
Pete Buttigieg is in further trouble with an investigation of his use of government jets.
An internal Transportation Department watchdog said on Monday that it will be auditing Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s use of Federal Aviation Administration jets for official trips.
Buttigieg’s office reported that Buttigieg has taken 18 flights on private FAA planes and claimed that flying on a private plane was cheaper for all but one of those trips, according to the Washington Post.
Kerry Arndt, a spokeswoman for Buttigieg, said in an emailed statement that his team welcomed the review, which it said would be a chance to “put some of the false, outlandish, and cynical claims about the Secretary’s mode of travel to rest.”
“The fact remains that he flies commercially the vast majority of the time,” Arndt said. “The exceptions have been when the Department’s career ethics officials, who have served under both Democratic and Republican administrations, determined that the use of a 9-seat FAA plane would be either more cost effective or should be approved for exceptional scheduling or security reasons.”
The audit of Buttigieg’s travel was requested by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), after a Fox News story revealed his use of the taxpayer-funded private jets.
Rubio noted that federal travel regulations state “[b]ecause the taxpayers should pay no more than necessary for your transportation, generally you may travel on Government aircraft only when a Government aircraft is the most cost-effective mode of travel.”
He added that the DOT’s own Travel Order and Manual further states that “DOT employees are required to exercise the same care in incurring expenses that a prudent person would exercise if traveling on personal business when making official travel arrangements, and therefore, should consider the least expensive class of travel that meets the needs of the agency’s mission.”
“Given these requirements, it is unclear why Secretary Buttigieg would require such costly travel in these instances when more economical options were reportedly available.” Rubio concluded.
This audit into Buttigieg’s plane use comes as he’s been blamed for his lack of response after a toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.
Buttigieg tried to avoid speaking about the personal criticisms during an interview on MSNBC last weekend.
“There has been so much information, and frankly so much misinformation thrown at this community and thrown at this situation that a lot of them are asking who they can even trust,” Buttigieg claimed. “It’s so important to continue to make sure that they can get good, accurate information about the things they care about most, which isn’t national politics or who looks good or who looks bad, it’s continuing to know that their air, water, and soil are going to be safe, that their homes are going to be safe.”
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