- The Washington Times - Friday, September 29, 2017

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is the latest member of President Trump’s Cabinet to come under fire for spending taxpayer dollars on expensive charter and military flights, according to reports, including one trip that cost over $12,000.

In June, Mr. Zinke and several Interior officials took a $12,375 flight from Las Vegas to Montana, the secretary’s home state, for a speaking engagement, Politico reported. The trips were confirmed by an Interior Department spokesperson, who also added that the flights had been pre-cleared by the department’s ethics office.

The revelations come as other administration officials take fire for their own use of private flights. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price each have used non-commercial flights. Mr. Price’s has been by far the most notable, as the secretary racked up a reported tab of more than $400,000 and drew the direct ire of the president in the process.

Mr. Price has said he’ll reimburse taxpayers for some of the costs.

As for Mr. Zinke, who has done extensive traveling in recent months as he’s visited numerous national parks and monuments as part of a comprehensive monument review ordered by the president, the June excursion was not his first such trip.

In March, the secretary and his staff reportedly took a private flight to the Virgin Islands. Mr. Zinke and his wife also also used military and charter flights in May to travel to Norway and later to Alaska to attend events organized by Senate Republicans.

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