There has been a major focus by Democrats on climate change, only officials in this administration are among the biggest violators of using private jets for travel.
They always have an excuse, and that is exactly what we are hearing from Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s office after the Department of Transportation (DOT) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report found that Buttigieg spent $59,000 in travel to events.
After the report came out, Buttigieg’s office justified the expenses, saying allowing the Secretary to travel on these jets actually saved taxpayers money.
It’s a Good Thing
The report from DOT-OIG broke down travel between August 2021 to June 2023.
Buttigieg has come under particular scrutiny because of comments he made earlier regarding getting him back for family time as well as shunning reporters for daring to question him on these habits.
The report stated, "Ensuring that Federal officials, including career personnel and political appointees, adhere to Federal requirements regarding the proper use of public resources is essential to maintaining public trust and confidence.
"The Department has internal controls over the process to authorize and approve travel on official use of DOT aircraft, such as requiring legal review and approval of all aircraft use justifications, and has implemented new ones, such as expanded voucher audit criteria, to help ensure process standardization.
"Continued oversight in this area is important to maintain transparency and accountability for Federal funds."
Some of Buttigieg’s heaviest travel dates came just prior to the 2022 election, with Buttigieg doing a barnstorming tour of key swing states Florida, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Ohio, Nevada, and New Hampshire.
Buttigieg was supposed to be touting the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, but this had more of the feel of campaigning.
In other instances, Buttigieg racked up travel costs by flying to New York for a radio interview and two meetings, then returned several hours later, with his office citing scheduling issues for the use of the jets.
Caitlin Sutherland, the executive director of Americans for Public Trust (APT) blasted the DOT for the report, stating, "In this holiday news dump, the Inspector General admits that the Department of Transportation has been using incorrect flight cost estimates to justify Secretary Buttigieg’s use of a taxpayer-funded private jet.
"After stonewalling the release of records for over a year, the Biden administration will try to say Buttigieg is in the clear, but Americans will see through this thinly-veiled attempt to exonerate the Secretary.
"Travelers are spending their hard-earned money and countless hours on flights to see loved ones this holiday season. As they sit on the tarmac, they’ll have plenty of time to wonder why they’re paying for their own commercial flights and Buttigieg’s private flights, too."
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has also been very critical of Buttigieg’s travel, having initiated the investigation into Buttigieg’s travel costs with the Inspector General’s office.
Relatively speaking, even though the costs are excessive, they pale in comparison to the private travel of John Kerry, but his office has been sidestepping this issue since Kerry became Biden’s Climate Envoy.