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Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spent more than $1 million in taxpayer money for the use of military jets, and some for personal purposes, according to an estimate by American Oversight.

The details: Based on government documents the American Oversight obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, Tillerson used military jets 15 times during his 14 months as secretary of state. Five of those trips were marked as "personal travel," while the rest do not have any explanation.

Originally reported by The HuffPost, the State Department declined to provide the reimbursement rate, but past guidelines required government officials to pay the equivalent of the fare on a commercial airline. 

  • The HuffPost notes that former Secretary of State John Kerry also sometimes made stops at his home on the way to or from overseas trips using government aircraft.
  • FOIAs obtained by Judicial Watch also show that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used military aircraft to travel between Washington and New York.

Go deeper

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
3 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

5 hours ago - Health

Beware a Thanksgiving mirage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Don't be surprised if COVID metrics plunge over the next few days, only to spike next week.

Why it matters: The COVID Tracking Project warns of a "double-weekend pattern" on Thanksgiving — where the usual weekend backlog of data is tacked on to a holiday.