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Treasury Deptartment Investigating Mnuchin Eclipse Trip
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s jaunt to Kentucky to watch the recent solar eclipse has come under scrutiny in recent days because he used a government aircraft to make the trip. After calls from Congress to look into the matter, the Treasury Department’s inspector general appears to be investigating the circumstances surrounding the trip.
“We are reviewing the circumstances of the Secretary’s August 21 flight […] to determine whether all applicable travel, ethics, and appropriation laws and policies were observed,” Treasury Department counsel Rich Delmar said in a statement Thursday. “When our review is complete, we will advise the appropriate officials, in accordance with the Inspector General Act and established procedures.”
Those close to Mnuchin are defending his use of the aircraft.
“The Secretary of the Treasury at times needs to use a government aircraft to facilitate his travel schedule and to ensure uninterrupted access to secure communications,” said the spokesperson. “The Department of the Treasury sought and received the appropriate approval from the White House. Secretary Mnuchin has reimbursed the government for the cost of Ms. Linton’s travel in accordance with the long-standing policy regarding private citizens on military aircraft.”
The controversy began when Mnuchin’s life, Laura Linton, posted an Instagram photo detailing the couple’s trip. She then responded to a commenter in an extremely condescending tone before removing the post altogether. The picture indicated that the couple had used a government craft to make their trip to see the eclipse, which prompted members of Congress and other watchdog organizations to call for an investigation.
This is just the latest in the ongoing saga of Trump administration officials reportedly using their positions for personal gain. Former Trump advisor Carl Icahn is under intense scrutiny for potentially influencing the administration to adopt policies that would benefit his business interests. Now we have Mnuchin using government jets for his own personal trips.