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Oversight panel to look into officials' use of private aircraft for official travel

Under fire for costly flights

The House Oversight Committee said Wednesday that it is assessing the use of government-owned planes by senior government officials for personal travel or private non-commercial plans for official travel.

In a letter to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, say that official travel by federal employees must be done through the "most expeditious means of transportation practicable" and should not include personal use.

The two lawmakers ask that Kelly provide certain information to the committee, including each usage of a government-owned plane by a non-elected official since President Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20. It requests the officials' destinations, cost of trip, purpose of trip and the dates of use.

Gowdy and Cummings said that they want the information as soon as possible but no later than close of business on Oct. 10.

This comes after it was revealed that several top government officials -- EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price -- use of government planes for personal travel or private planes for official travel.

CBS News' Julianna Goldman and Laura Strickler reported Tuesday that in June, Pruitt, after travelling with President Trump to Cincinnati, he took an Air Force jet to New York's JFK Airport, instead of taking a $350 commercial flight, sticking taxpayers with a bill for at least $20,000. He then flew to Italy for an international summit that didn't start until three days later, and he left that meeting a day early. 

Treasury's inspector general is looking into Mnuchin's use of a military aircraft and the HHS inspector general is looking into Price's chartered flights that cost $400,000. 

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