Tom Price made good on his promise to reimburse taxpayers for the cost of his seats on private charter planes before he resigned as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Several media outlets have reported that an official from HHS confirmed that Price wrote a check to the U.S. Treasury Department for $51,887, a fraction of the cost of the private planes he used to travel on official government business, which Politico estimated at $400,000. In addition, the publication reported that Price also took military jets to travel to Africa, Europe and Asia with his wife. The cost of those jets: $500,000.
Earlier this week, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin demanding to know whether Price actually reimbursed taxpayers and if so, how much the check was for. She said his offer to repay the portion of his travel was inadequate since it cost taxpayers close to $1 million. His wealth was estimated at approximately $14 million at the time of his confirmation in February.
ABC News reporter Katherine Faulders tweeted on Thursday that an HHS official told her Price wrote a personal check to the Treasury before resigning from office and the agency has processed the payment of $51,887.31.
Prior to his resignation, Price issued a statement that said he would reimburse the Treasury for the expenses of his private charter planes. “The taxpayers won’t pay a dime for my seat on those planes,” he said.
A day later he handed in his resignation to President Donald Trump, saying the controversy "created a distraction" from the White House administration's objectives.
The search continues for Price’s replacement, and some speculate that Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, is a front-runner for the position. In the meantime, Trump has appointed Don J. Wright to serve as acting secretary. And this week the Senate confirmed Eric Hargan to serve as deputy secretary, the number two position at HHS.