11,459. 11/13/2017

HHS/TOM PRICE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “Tom Price left his job as Health and Human Services secretary in September, but the investigation into his use of private jets for official travel now threatens to enmesh others in the department.
The department’s inspector-general’s probe will review who approved — or should have been approving — Price’s use of private jets on at least 26 trips from May to September, some of them quick jaunts on routes heavily traveled by commercial aircraft, according to three people with knowledge of the probe.
The investigation, along with escalating demands from Congress for information on how Price obtained permission to use at least $400,000 of taxpayer money for the private jets, adds an extra dose of uncertainty to a department that’s already roiled by questions of who will replace Price, and internal feuds over who may have leaked information about Price’s travels, according to current and former HHS officials.
Price’s use of corporate jets appears to run afoul of federal regulations stating that private travel should be approved only when commercial flights aren’t feasible, and the inspector-general probe is likely to put a spotlight on HHS Assistant Secretary for Administration John Bardis, the official designated in department rules as overseeing the travel approval process along with the HHS general counsel’s office…
HHS declined to make Bardis available for an interview or answer questions about Bardis’ role in approving Price’s travel, or whether he or others raised any objections to the two dozen-plus charter flights Price took during his brief tenure.”

-Rachana Pradhan and Dan Diamond, “Price investigation continues to roil HHS,” Politico, Nov. 13, 2107 05:04am

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