Tom Price, M.D., may no longer serve as the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, but at least one Democratic senator wants to know whether he followed through on his promise to reimburse taxpayers for his seats on private charter flights.
Price, an orthopedic surgeon who practiced medicine for more than 20 years before becoming a congressman and later the head of HHS, resigned last week in the wake of an uproar over revelations that he had spent as much as $400,000 on private planes to travel on official government business. Politico later reported that Price also flew on military jets to travel to Africa, Europe and Asia with his wife, at a cost of $500,000.
Prior to his resignation, Price offered to repay the U.S. Treasury $52,000 to cover the cost of his seats on the chartered flights. Now Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., has asked Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin whether Price actually reimbursed taxpayers and if so, how much the check was for, The Hill reported. She demanded answers by Oct. 17.
In her letter (PDF) to Mnuchin, Murray said that Price still has a responsibility to follow through on his commitment to repay the American people. Anything less, she said, shows that Price didn’t regret his misuse of taxpayer money, only that he was caught.
She also said that his promise to pay only a fraction of the cost is inadequate considering the travel added up to $1 million. At the time of Price’s confirmation, Murray noted that his wealth was estimated at approximately $14 million.