In October 2017, the Treasury Department inspector general released a report on Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s use of government planes, and it wasn’t pretty: While Mnuchin hadn’t technically broken any laws in booking more than $800,000 of government plane travel, the report said, “in almost all cases a single boilerplate statement constituted the whole analysis and justification for designation and use of military aircraft.”
On Thursday, the watchdog group Citizens of Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) published documents the inspector general would have used to reach that conclusion, including numerous communications between Mnuchin’s office and officials at the Federal Aviation Administration.
Much of the time, the Treasury Department’s justifications for the expensive travel stayed the same: some version of “scheduling, logistics, costs, and secure communications needs.”
CREW was blunt in its conclusions: “Secretary Mnuchin has legitimately earned a place in the rogues’ gallery of cabinet secretaries who have abused their all too easy access to military and other non-commercial aircraft for both business travel and what, upon closer inspection, appears to sometimes include personal travel,” the group wrote in an introduction to a report attached to the documents.
“Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has billed taxpayers for the most expensive flight options available at every turn, appearing to never even consider flying commercial as his predecessors did,” a press release accompanying the report read separately.