Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, under fire for his use of taxpayer-funded private jets, said he will pay back the U.S. government for expenses associated with the charters and vowed to fly commercial from now on.
Price will reimburse $51,887.31 for his share, according to his department. That would be fraction of the total costs of what Politico reported were at least 26 private flights since February, totaling more than $400,000.
“The taxpayers won’t pay a dime for my seat on those planes,” Price said in a statement Thursday.
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Price, who is facing investigations by Congress and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General over his travels, said he is cooperating fully and has initiated an internal review to determine if any reforms are necessary. He turned up for a speaking engagement at the National Press Club, giving no sign he would soon leave his job amid the widening scandal.
“It is clear to me that in this case, I was not sensitive enough to my concern for the taxpayer,” he said in the statement. “I know as well as anyone that the American people want to know that their hard-earned dollars are being spent wisely by government officials.”
President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that he was looking “very closely” at the possibility of firing Price. A White House official who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the secretary had spoken with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and didn’t offer his resignation.