Mar 15, 2018 - Politics & Policy

The Trump Cabinet members accused of splurging

President Trump and Ben Carson

President Donald Trump stands beside Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson. Photo: Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images

The days of President Trump boasting about how his cabinet had “by far the highest IQ of any cabinet ever assembled” are over. As Axios' Jonathan Swan has reported, Trump and his chief of staff John Kelly are becoming increasingly frustrated with stories of cabinet secretaries' frivolous spending on taxpayers' dime.

The big picture: At least six current or former cabinet officials have been swept up in investigations over splurging on expensive renovations or luxurious travel.

  1. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price was forced to resign in September for repeatedly using costly military planes for overseas and domestic travel.
  2. Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin has been under fire for using government funds to fly his wife to Europe and stipend her meals. Shulkin's chief of staff later stepped down after an investigation found she doctored an email and misled officials to gain approval for the trip.
  3. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has faced backlash for traveling first-class and using a military jet to fly to Rome. And per WashPo, he also used $43,000 in public funds to install a soundproof phone booth in his office.
  4. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's use of private and military aircraft were called into question last fall, and an investigation later found that he had failed to keep complete records of his travel.
  5. HUD Secretary Ben Carson and his wife Candy picked out a $31,000 dining set for his office, according internal emails obtained by CNN.
  6. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin faced inquiries last fall for having requested a government jet for his honeymoon and using a government jet to travel to Kentucky, a trip that coincided with the August eclipse. Mnuchin said the honeymoon story was "misreported" and denied his Kentucky trip was related to the eclipse.

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