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US health secretary Tom Price quits after plane scandal

Tom Price in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building September 5, 2017Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tom Price had said he would reimburse taxpayers and fly commercial in future

US Health Secretary Tom Price has resigned over the use of expensive private planes for official business.

He previously apologised after making 26 private flights since May at a cost of $ 400,000 (£300,000) to taxpayers.

Government officials, except those dealing with national security matters, are required to take commercial flights for work related travel.

Three other members of President Donald Trump’s cabinet are under scrutiny for using private planes while working.

A White House statement said President Trump had accepted Mr Price’s resignation, adding that Don J Wright had been designated as acting health secretary.

An investigation by the political news website Politico found that Mr Price’s travels had cost more than $ 1m (£750,000).

As well as the $ 400,000 for private flights, that figure includes the cost of military aircraft used for Mr Price’s trips abroad, Politico added.

President Trump had earlier said he was “not happy” with the expense.

Hours before Mr Price’s resignation he told White House reporters: “He’s a very fine man. We’re going to make a decision sometime tonight. He’s a very, very fine man.”

Three other members of Mr Trump’s cabinet are under scrutiny for their use of private planes while on the job:

  • Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke flew from Las Vegas to Montana last June on a private jet that cost taxpayers more than $ 12,000, according to Politico and the Washington Post
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is accused of flying with his wife to view last month’s solar eclipse
  • Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt has spent more than $ 58,000 on non-commercial travel

BBC News – World

US health secretary quits over flights furore
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