Buttigieg’s Suspect Use of Federal Aircraft to be Audited

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The Transportation Department’s watchdog unit announced it will audit Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s frequent use of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) jets. The watchdog said its audit will begin “shortly”.

Despite his calls for the federal government to take actions on carbon emissions, a Fox News Digital report found that Buttigieg has taken at least 18 flights on the taxpayer-funded private jets since taking office.

Use of the fleet has caused problems for previous officials. Buttigieg’s predecessor, Elain Chao, was criticized for using the jets seven times. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price was ousted from his position after allegedly taking 26 private flights.

After the report from Fox, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) formally requested an audit.

“Senator Marco Rubio requested that we determine whether the Secretary’s use of Government aircraft for domestic and international travel complied with all applicable Federal regulations and DOT policies and procedures,” the watchdog’s announcement says. “Accordingly, we will conduct an audit to determine whether the Office of the Secretary complied with Federal regulations, policies, and procedures regarding executive travel on DOT aircraft.”

A DOT spokesperson insisted the flights were all above board.

“Secretary Buttigieg mostly travels by commercial airline, and has directed that travel and logistical decisions be grounded in efficient and responsible use of taxpayer dollars,” they told Fox News Digital.

Some have called out Buttigieg’s travel alongside his often extreme focus on climate policies.

“Everyday Americans face flight [cancellations] and long wait times because Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has completely mismanaged air travel,” said Caitlin Sutherland, executive director of government watching Americans for Public Trust. “Yet, he gets to avoid all that by taking taxpayer-funded private jets to destinations with readily available commercial airline options.”

Private jet travel is overwhelmingly the most carbon heavy mode of transportation. They emit 10 times the carbon than commercial airplanes and 50 times the carbon of trains, according to a 2021 report from the group Transport & Environment.

Buttigieg addressed the audit on Twitter, writing, “Glad this will be reviewed independently so misleading narratives can be put to rest. Bottom line: I mostly fly on commercial flights, in economy class. And when I do use our agency’s aircraft, it’s usually a situation where doing so saves taxpayer money.”

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