- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 28, 2017

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said Thursday he regretted his use of expensive chartered flights and will personally reimburse taxpayers.

“Today, I will write a personal check to the U.S. Treasury for the expenses of my travel on private charter planes,” Mr. Price said in a statement. “The taxpayers won’t pay a dime for my seat on those planes.”

Mr. Price, a former Republican congressman from Georgia, took at least 26 chartered flights since May costing more than $400,000 instead of seeking out cheaper, commercial flights, according to Politico, which uncovered the practice in a series of reports.

Former HHS secretaries were stunned by the practice.

Mr. Price’s statement referred to his own seat on the planes, rather than reported costs overall. An HHS spokeswoman said Mr. Price will write a personal check for nearly $52,000.

President Trump fumed at Mr. Price, causing many to wonder if the secretary’s job was in danger. Democrats, meanwhile, called for his resignation, and the uproar sparked inquiries from the HHS inspector general and House investigators.

The secretary said each of the chartered trips were approved by agency staff but that he would stop using them and cooperate with the inspector general’s inquiry.

“I regret the concerns this has raised regarding the use of taxpayer dollars,” Mr. Price said. “All of my political career I’ve fought for the taxpayers. In this case, I was not sensitive enough to my concern for the taxpayer.”


• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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