- Associated Press - Monday, April 16, 2012

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says he regrets the cost to taxpayers of his weekend trips to his California home, which cost about $32,000 for reach round trip.

Panetta says he is looking for ways to find savings, but also says it is healthy to get out of Washington to get some perspective at his Monterey farm.

Panetta is required to travel on military aircraft so he can remain in constant, secure contact with the White House and military leaders. The Associated Press reported he has commuted home at least 27 times since he took over the Pentagon job in July. He has reimbursed the Treasury about $17,000 for the travel, based on a government formula, or about $630 per round trip.

The trips have cost taxpayers as much as $860,000.