Watchdog director slams Buttigieg for taking government-managed jets ‘even when commercial options were readily available’
The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) internal watchdog is opening an audit into Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg over his extensive use of private jets, the agency confirmed to Fox News Digital on Monday.
The DOT Inspector General investigation comes roughly two months following a Fox News Digital report that showed Buttigieg, who has repeatedly argued in favor of aggressive action to combat climate change, has taken at least 18 flights using taxpayer-funded private jets since taking office in early 2021. Flight records reviewed by Fox News Digital aligned with Buttigieg’s internal calendar obtained at the time by government watchdog group Americans for Public Trust (APT).
“After Americans for Public Trust helped determine Secretary Buttigieg’s excessive use of taxpayer-funded government jets, we are pleased to see that his air travel is now under investigation,” APT executive director Caitlin Sutherland told Fox News Digital on Monday.
“Everyday Americans have faced unprecedented flight cancelations and disruptions, but Buttigieg has continued to fly private, even on a Coast Guard plane and even when commercial options were readily available.”
In one instance of his use of government-managed private jets, which are part of a small fleet managed by the Federal Aviation Administration, Buttigieg traveled roundtrip from Washington, D.C., to Las Vegas to promote public works projects in Nevada in August 2021.
In another example, Buttigieg used a private jet to fly to multiple states — most of which have largely been considered swing states in recent federal elections — in August as a part of a tour highlighting grants authorized under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. He jetted to Florida, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Ohio, Nevada and New Hampshire during the trip titled “Building a Better America Tour.”
The transportation secretary also took a military aircraft to attend the Fifth Invictus Games in Europe with his husband Chasten Buttigieg in April 2022. And, that same month, Buttigieg jetted off to New York City on one of the government planes for a radio interview and two brief meetings before returning hours later.
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