The Mnuchin family has something else to be “super duper sorry” about.
Clad only in a sweater and heels, Louise Linton, the wife of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, graced the pages of Elle Magazine just last month to say she was “super duper sorry” for insulting an Instagram user who accused the couple of living it up on the government’s dollar. But a new report on Thursday indicates the Instagram user wasn’t exactly wrong: Mnuchin has been billing taxpayers for “the most expensive flight options available at every turn,” the report concludes.
The report, compiled by the nonpartisan ethics watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), relies on documents that show that Mnuchin used military jets for at least seven separate trips last year, which cost taxpayers almost $1 million. Those trips would have cost less than $25,000 in total on commercial flights, according to analysis from the New York Times.
“The public still has no reasonable explanation for why Secretary Mnuchin apparently has never used commercial aircraft while his predecessors did, or why he needs military aircraft that can accommodate 120 passengers when his travel manifests contain far fewer names,” CREW attorney Anne Weismann said in a statement.
An investigation by the Treasury Department’s Office of Inspector General concluded in October that Mnuchin had not violated any laws but did note a “disconnect between the standard of proof” required to use military jets for travel “and the actual amount of proof provided by Treasury and accepted by the White House in justifying these trip requests.”
Treasury secretaries have traditionally traveled on commercial flights for domestic trips and occasionally on military jets for international trips for extenuating circumstances.
But Mnuchin’s flights include a number of domestic trips, including destinations like Miami and Las Vegas. Government emails obtained by CREW show the Miami trip, which cost $26,953.33, would have cost $688 round trip on a commercial flight.
An August trip to Fort Knox is also listed in the documents.
Mnuchin’s wife accompanied him on that trip, which drew scrutiny after reports suggested he had secured the flight to coincide with a solar eclipse that occurred that day. Linton also saw the flight as a photo opportunity and posted a photograph of herself disembarking the military jet on Instagram. She listed the designer brands she was wearing in the caption.
An Oregon woman saw the photograph and posted a comment. “Glad we could pay for your little getaway. #deplorable,” she wrote.
Linton responded with a lengthy tirade berating the woman for suggesting the trip was a personal one and said that she and Mnuchin stimulate the economy with their tax returns — before later apologizing in the Elle profile.
Documents revealed in September, however, that she and Mnuchin did submit a request for a military jet for their honeymoon in Europe, although they later withdrew it.
Cover image: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, right, and his wife Louise Linton, hold up a sheet of new $1 bills, the first currency notes bearing his and U.S. Treasurer Jovita Carranza's signatures, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)