The Department of Transportation’s inspector general has launched an investigation into embattled Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s excessive use of taxpayer-funded private jets.
Buttigieg has been at the center of multiple mounting scandals recently, most notably the toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.
The House Oversight Committee has also launched an investigation into Buttigieg’s lack of response to the disaster.
Since taking office last year, Buttigieg has taken dozens of flights on the private jets.
Buttigieg’s travel habits were first reported in December by Fox News.
The report cited flight tracking data obtained by the watchdog group Americans for Public Trust.
According to the report, Buttigieg has used two taxpayer-funded Cessna 560XL jets managed by the Federal Aviation Administration for trips to states including Nevada, Florida, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Ohio, and New Hampshire.
Fox News also reported that Buttigieg used a private plane to travel to Montreal in September to attend an International Civil Aviation Organization conference.
The Transportation secretary has been accused of using the jets for unnecessary and personal trips, all on the taxpaying public’s dime.
Buttigieg responded to the investigation on Twitter, claiming he’s “glad” that the probe has been launched.
“Glad this will be reviewed independently so misleading narratives can be put to rest,” Buttigieg said.
“Bottom line: I mostly fly on commercial flights, in economy class.
“And when I do use our agency’s aircraft, it’s usually a situation where doing so saves taxpayer money.”
Glad this will be reviewed independently so misleading narratives can be put to rest.
Bottom line: I mostly fly on commercial flights, in economy class. And when I do use our agency’s aircraft, it’s usually a situation where doing so saves taxpayer money. https://t.co/wUtBtjx9CT
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) February 27, 2023
Americans for Public Trust executive director Caitlin Sutherland said:
“After APT helped determine Secretary Buttigieg’s excessive use of taxpayer-funded government jets, we are pleased to see that his air travel is now under investigation.
“Everyday Americans have faced unprecedented flight cancelations and disruptions, but Buttigieg has continued to fly private, even on a Coast Guard plane and even when commercial options were readily available.”
The Department of Transportation issued a statement claiming the allegations about Buttigieg’s private jet use are “false.”
“We welcome this independent audit moving forward in order to put some of the false, outlandish, and cynical claims about the Secretary’s mode of travel to rest,” a DOT spokesperson said.
“The fact remains that he flies commercially the vast majority of the time.”
You are the first controversial Secretary of Transportation in US history.
You must admit this is ridiculous.
— Kimberly Klacik (@kimKBaltimore) February 27, 2023
READ MORE: Biden Official Overrules Pete Buttigieg on East Palestine: ‘This Was 100% Preventable’