Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has used military flights for private air travel to the tune of $800,000. One flight was a $15,000 trip to visit with Mr. Trump at Trump Tower in New York City. There was one additional flight that was requested, but later withdrawn — a flight for Mr. Mnuchin’s European honeymoon. That honeymoon started the whole investigation into Mr. Mnuchin’s because of his new wife’s post on Instagram about their dream trip.
The Inspector General for Treasury concluded that the remaining trips were properly approved through the processes then in place. However, the IG questioned the proof that was required for justifying the private flights. The IG’s advice is that there be more proof, more rigor, and more oversight. The Trump administration has already changed the process for approval of private flights — the request must go through the White House Chief of Staff (presently General John F.Kelly). Nothing like a military man screening impositions on the military by billionaires.
As in so many situations such as this in which there are questions of abuse government resources, the question is framed as, “How bad is one or eight flights?” Rather, the question should be, “Am I a good steward of the resources of the people of the United States?” If you frame the question as a steward you would get to New York City via shuttle or AmTrak, not via a $15,000 flight. Standards of proof for approval vs. standards.