September 22, 2017

Politico estimates that the smarmy HHS Sec. Tom Price has spent an estimated $300,000 on private charters this year.

POLITICO identified at least 17 charter flights that took place before the first storm — Hurricane Harvey — hit in late August, and included flights that did not appear to be for urgent HHS public health priorities.

For example, Price took a Learjet-60 from San Diego to the Aspen Ideas Festival — a glamorous conference at the Colorado resort town — that arrived at 3:33 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, June 24, nearly 19 hours before his scheduled panel. That flight likely cost more than $7,100, according to one charter jet agency estimate.

“If you’re going to a conference, you have some [advance] flexibility to book travel” and shouldn’t need last-minute charters, said Walter Shaub, who was the Barack Obama-appointed director of the United States Office of Government Ethics until July. “This shows a complete disregard for the expense to the taxpayer.”

Since being confirmed in early February, Price has developed a reputation inside the agency for flying on private charters rather than taking other means of transportation, people inside and outside the Trump administration said.

If you follow the thread, this story looks like a White House leak:

Price’s frequent trips around the country have rankled staff inside the White House, with a senior official saying many trips aren’t related to priorities like Obamacare repeal and other items on the president’s agenda. While Price has flown to Maine, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania since last Wednesday, President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans have been frantically rallying support to pass an Obamacare repeal bill by Sept. 30. After that date, the GOP will need 60 Senate votes, not 50, to overturn the 2010 health law.

"No one is quite sure what [Price] is doing,” a senior White House official said. “You look at this week, we're doing a last final push trying to get this over the finish line, and he's nowhere to be found."

In other words: We don't care that he's pissing away money, he's not helping our agenda!

But that's okay, because Price is a threat to us all, and if we can remind people that he's so ethically challenged, that much better! (Note: Of course, the video is of Price railing against government jets.)

Here are some relevant facts about HHS Sec. Tom Price.

We can't prove he's a crook, but we have a pretty good idea that he deserves closer scrutiny.

His net worth is estimated at $13.6 million, mostly from his work as an orthopedic surgeon. (Fun fact: Doctors make up the one of the largest occupational groups in the 1%.) Putting a Republican doctor in charge of our medical system is akin to putting the proverbial fox in charge of the henhouse.

His goals include getting rid of Medicare and Medicaid.

Keep an eye on this weasel. He's used to getting away with things.

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