Trump’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke reportedly spent more than $14,000 in taxpayer money on government helicopters to make multiple day trips in the Washington, DC area, including using one trip to ensure he was on time for a horseback ride with Vice President Mike Pence, according to a bombshell Politico report.
The revelation was made after Politico obtained travel logs showing that Zinke spent thousands on the helicopter trips, which were provided by the U.S. Park Police.
In one instance, Zinke and another Interior Department official flew to and from Yorktown, Virginia in July to attend a roundtable discussion with boating industry representatives and visited a site of future high-voltage electric transmission lines.
Zinke used a Park Police helicopter on his way back from Yorktown in order to make it back to Washington, D.C. in time for a horseback ride with Vice President Mike Pence, according to Politico. The flight cost taxpayers around $6,250.
An Interior official said the trip to and from Yorktown would allow Zinke to “familiarize himself with the in-flight capabilities of an aircraft he is in charge of.”
Interior Department spokeswoman Heather Swift defended Zinke’s trips in a statement to Politico: “The swearing in of the Congressman is absolutely an official event, as is emergency management training. Shame on you for not respecting the office of a Member of Congress.”
The Hill reports:
The Interior Department’s inspector general said in October it was investigating Zinke’s use of chartered planes after it was reported Zinked and his aides had taken multiple flights on chartered or military planes to travel to his home state of Montana, as well as to travel to events between two Caribbean islands.
Zinke called the reports “a little BS” at the time, saying that he used the planes only when “no commercial options existed” to fit the schedule.