On Monday (February 27), the Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General, an internal watchdog for the Transport Department, announced it would probe Pete Buttigieg’s use of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) jets.
The internal watchdog explained it would be auditing Buttigieg to ascertain if the Transportation Secretary’s office had complied “with Federal regulations, policies, and procedures regarding executive travel on DOT aircraft.”
The audit follows reporting by Fox News last year that revealed Buttigieg had taken at least 18 flights on FAA aircraft, leading Republican Senator Marco Rubio (Fla.) to request an audit.
As part of its audit, the internal watchdog will be reviewing every official flight Buttigieg has taken since January 31, 2017, a review the announcement stated would be starting “shortly.”
The announcement explains that the audit has begun under Rubio’s behest to “determine whether the Secretary’s use of Government aircraft for domestic and international travel” met the standard of the Department of Justice and applicable Federal policies.
According to federal travel regulations, government employees’ travel by government vehicles should be limited to ensure taxpayers aren’t paying “more than necessary” for transportation. In addition, the regulation permits travel by government aircraft only when such a mode of transportation is “the most cost-effective.”
According to reporting by The Washington Post, the cost of those 18 flights and accommodation for staff over seven total trips cost $41,905.20.
Furthermore, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley (Iowa) demanded answers about the Secretary’s travel, including an itemized list of all of Buttigieg’s non-commercial flights.
Responding to Grassley, the DOT revealed 119 out of 138 flights Buttigieg took since being sworn in have been on commercial aircraft.