The media has spent a lot of time talking about the flight scandal leading to the resignation of Trump cabinet member Tom Price. According to the Daily Caller, the former Health & Human Services Secretary stepped down after reports revealed he spent nearly $1 million of taxpayer money on private jets and military planes.
But it seems it isn’t just high-profile Republicans who have used government-funded travel questionably. According to Judicial Watch, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s extensive use of military travel has cost US taxpayers more than $2 million over a two-year period. Furthermore, Pelosi’s flights have incurred thousands of dollars in costs for alcoholic beverages.
Judicial Watch discovered this surprising revelation through documents obtained from the Air Force via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Judicial Watch had previously reported on Pelosi’s tendency to use military planes as opposed to commercial aircraft for her travel.
The new documents show that her flight preferences have been very expensive. Over one two-year period, Pelosi’s travel costs were $2,100,744.59. Of that amount, $101,429 was for in-flight expenses, including various kinds of food and alcohol.
One international congressional delegation (CODEL) in which Pelosi participated cost $17,931 per hour. As the former House Speaker traveled through the Middle East, more than 13 types of alcoholic drinks were served.
The array of drinks included Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Bailey’s Irish Crème, Maker’s Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewars scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey, and Corona beer, plus several bottles of wine.
In another CODEL in 2007 involving a stop in Israel, Pelosi made sure to acquire kosher alcohol for mixing. Whiskey, Bourbon, Scotch, Vodka, Gin, Tequila, and Triple Sec were all purchased on the taxpayer dime.
The documents show that in 2008, the Department of Defense granted a $60,000 advance to a CODEL made-up of 56 members of Congress, who traveled to Louisiana and Mississippi to survey Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. The members of Congress exceeded their authorized expenditures by $5,505.46.
It remains to be seen whether the mainstream media gives Pelosi the same level of scrutiny it placed on Trump’s HHS secretary. Price, a physician and former Congressman from Georgia, offered to refund taxpayers the costs incurred on his flights. But the gesture appears to ultimately not have been enough to sway the President, who was reportedly “not happy” with Price’s actions.
In response to the news, Trump has cut the privilege of government-owned aircraft use by members of his administration. A memo issued by White House budget director Mick Mulvaney reads: “With few exceptions, the commercial air system used by millions of Americans every day is appropriate, even for very senior officials.”
Nancy Pelosi has blatantly misused taxpayer money on travel and alcohol. Do you think she should resign?
The statement continues: “Therefore, all travel on Government-owned, rented, leased, or chartered aircraft, except space available travel and travel to meet mission requirements (as those situations are defined in Circular A-126) shall require prior approval from the White House Chief of Staff.”
From now on, Executive Branch officials will be flying commercial. The question is this. Will Congressional Democrats–particularly Nancy Pelosi–consider doing the same?