Mar 15, 2018

The Trump Cabinet members accused of splurging

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.

Go deeper: Donald Trump's cabinet full of trouble

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Scoop: Top NSC official reassigned to Energy Department amid "Anonymous" fallout

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates will be reassigned as a senior adviser to Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, the National Security Council said Thursday — and a senior White House official said that the administration "rejects" the rumors that she is "Anonymous."

Why it matters: Coates has battled claims that she is the still-unknown Trump administration official that penned a New York Times op-ed and book critical of President Trump.

The Fed may be setting the table for 2020 rate cuts

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Fed looks to be laying the groundwork to lower U.S. interest rates this year, just as they did in April 2019 before cutting rates in July, September and October.

Why it matters: A Fed rate cut makes taking on debt more attractive for U.S. consumers and businesses, helping to juice the economy, but also puts the central bank in a weaker position to fight off a potential recession.

Morgan Stanley to buy E*Trade in a $13 billion deal

Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Morgan Stanley is planning to buy E*Trade Financial Corp. in a $13 billion all-stock deal, the Wall Street Journal reports, with plans to acquire the company known for helping everyday Americans manage their money.

Why it matters: The deal, which would be the largest by a major American bank since the financial crisis, signals Morgan Stanley‘s desire to bulk up in wealth management.