Schooling Secretary Betsy DeVos flies on her private aircraft at her personal expense when she visits faculties across the nation, based on her workplace, as different Cupboard secretaries’ flying habits at taxpayers’ value have drawn scrutiny.
Schooling Division Press Secretary Liz Hill mentioned in a press release to The Related Press that DeVos travels “on personally-owned plane” at zero value to taxpayers. Talking with the AP on Thursday, Hill wouldn’t disclose particulars concerning the mannequin or another traits of the plane.
“The secretary neither seeks, nor accepts, any reimbursement for her flights, nor for any further official travel-related bills, reminiscent of lodging and per diem, although she is entitled to such reimbursement below authorities journey rules,” Hill mentioned. “Secretary DeVos accepted her place to serve the general public and is totally dedicated to being a trustworthy steward of taxpayer .”
The problem of Cupboard secretaries’ journey got here below scrutiny on Wednesday when Well being and Human Companies Secretary Tom Worth confronted an outcry over chartering 5 non-public flights final week for official enterprise when different cheaper journey choices have been obtainable. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., mentioned Democrats would search a “full accounting” of Worth’s journey from his division’s inspector normal.
“Taxpayer funds usually are not meant for use as a jet-setting slush fund,” Pallone mentioned.
DeVos, a long-standing constitution and personal college advocate, is married to Dick DeVos, the inheritor to the Amway advertising fortune. Over time, DeVos and her household have contributed tens of millions of to Republican candidates and causes.
Hill mentioned DeVos pays for “all her journey bills together with flights, motels, and so forth., out of pocket and at no expense to taxpayers.” Since coming to workplace, DeVos’ solely cost to the division was one roundtrip Amtrak ticket from DC to Philadelphia for $184. Hill added that DeVos additionally covers journey bills for her safety element or another employees accompanying her on the plane.
Her predecessor, Secretary John King, spent below $39,000 of presidency cash on journey throughout his first months in workplace, based on division knowledge. Figures on previous secretaries’ journey have been requested by the AP.
“For the report, we flew coach, and we got here again identical day if we may,” tweeted King’s former press secretary Dorie Nolt. “We additionally really frolicked in public faculties.”
However DeVos has additionally confronted criticism over her use of public . DeVos encountered protesters at occasions she attended early in her tenure and her safety element has been bolstered at an extra value of some $7.eight million, prompting an outcry from a few of her critics.
At her Senate affirmation listening to in January, DeVos mentioned she needed to waive her proper to obtain a wage. However since federal authorities guidelines require her to be paid, DeVos is planning to donate her wage to charity, Hill mentioned.
DeVos will not be the one member of the administration to make such donations. In July, President Donald Trump donated his second-quarter wage of $100,000 to the Schooling Division to fund a science and expertise camp. However the gesture fell flat with some educators, who identified that the verify will do little to mitigate the $9 billion minimize to the Division’s funds that he has proposed.
Worth, a former Republican congressman from Georgia, chartered flights to a resort in Maine the place he was a part of a dialogue with a well being care trade CEO, based on a report in Politico. He additionally chartered flights to group well being facilities in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. One leg was from Dulles Worldwide Airport to Philadelphia Worldwide Airport, a distance of 135 miles.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin mentioned final week that the preliminary request to be used of a authorities aircraft for his European journey final month was about national security and never his personal private comfort on his honeymoon.