Tom Price’s Drop-in-the-bucket Check Clears

By on October 6, 2017
Dr. Tom Price

Making good on his promise, a check from former HHS Secretary Dr. Tom Price has cleared, according to a CNN report Thursday night.

Of course, that check was only good for $51,887.31 — a mere fraction of what taxpayers actually paid to charter all the private planes that Price used during his tenure. Before he resigned, Price said he would repay the treasury for the cost of “his seat” on the planes.

“Today, I will write a personal check to the US Treasury for the expenses of my travel on private charter planes,” Price said before he resigned. “The taxpayers won’t pay a dime for my seat on those planes.”

The problem with that logic, however, is that the cost of the plane isn’t divvied up that way to the American taxpayer. When HHS chartered the flight, it had to pay for the cost of all the seats on the plane. That’s how chartered air travel works. So for Price to somehow pawn off this check as a repayment for his costs is patently disingenuous.

Price was no stranger to scandal coming into the position. During his confirmation hearings, reports emerged that he had been under investigation for trading in health-related stocks while serving on a key House health committee whose decisions had a direct impact on those stock prices. When it became clear that Price was playing fast-and-loose with government money to fund his private plane fetish, it didn’t come as a surprise to many who were already familiar with his prior scandals.

What adds insult to injury here is that Price ran up upwards of a million dollars in private travel between chartered flights and military aircraft. Now he’s likely to get off the hook by paying back a paltry $50k of it back. Perhaps he learned from the President how to run up a big bill and settle for less.