Secretary Steven Mnuchin requested use of a government jet to take him and his wife on their honeymoon in Scotland, France and Italy earlier this summer, sparking an “inquiry” by The Treasury Department’s Office of Inspector General, sources tell ABC News.
Officials familiar with the matter say the highly unusual ask for a U.S. Air Force jet, which according to an Air Force spokesman could cost roughly $25,000 per hour to operate, was put in writing by the secretary’s office but eventually deemed unnecessary after further consideration of by Treasury Department officials.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, said in an interview with ABC News that Mnuchin’s request for a government jet on his honeymoon defies common sense.
“You don’t need a giant rulebook of government requirements to just say yourself, ‘This is common sense, it’s wrong,'” Wyden said. “That’s just slap your forehead stuff.”
Mnuchin, an independently wealthy former Goldman Sachs banker, has already triggered a review of his travel for using government jet to travel to Louisville and Fort Knox, Kentucky last month. The inspector general is reviewing whether he improperly used that trip to catch a prime view of the solar eclipse with his wife, a Scottish actress and model named Louise Linton.
Mnuchin’s office denied he took that trip to watch the eclipse and said he was there to attend meetings on tax reform, and the Treasury Department said the Mnuchins would reimburse the government for Linton’s travel costs.
An official within The Treasury Department’s Office of Inspector General said that in addition to reviewing the Kentucky trip, it has started an official “inquiry” into Mnuchin’s honeymoon travel request.
A spokesman for the Treasury Department told ABC News that the secretary requested government travel for his honeymoon out of a concern for maintaining a secure method of communication.
“The Secretary is a member of the National Security Council and has responsibility for the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence,” the spokesman said in a statement. “It is imperative that he have access to secure communications, and it is our practice to consider a wide range of options to ensure he has these capabilities during his travel, including the possible use of military aircraft.”
The spokesman added the secretary’s office ultimately decided the use of military aircraft was “unnecessary” after it became apparent…