, ,

Pete Buttigieg spent $59,000 in taxpayer money traveling on govt jets: inspector general

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and his staff spent nearly $59,000 traveling to official events on government-managed executive aircraft between August 2021 and June 2023, according to an inspector general audit released Wednesday.

Buttigieg opted to travel on the government fleet across eight trips and more than 20 flights, the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Office of Inspector General (OIG) determined in its months-long investigation. Though DOT has repeatedly explained that Buttigieg’s use of the jets saved taxpayers money, the audit revealed that just three of the trips were justified by “cost effectiveness,” while the others were justified by security, scheduling and communications concerns.

“Ensuring that Federal officials, including career personnel and political appointees, adhere to Federal requirements regarding the proper use of public resources is essential to maintaining public trust and confidence,” the DOT OIG report concludes.

“The Department has internal controls over the process to authorize and approve travel on official use of DOT aircraft, such as requiring legal review and approval of all aircraft use justifications, and has implemented new ones, such as expanded voucher audit criteria, to help ensure process standardization,” it continues. “Continued oversight in this area is important to maintain transparency and accountability for Federal funds.”


Overall, in the time period analyzed, Buttigieg’s flights cost taxpayers an estimated $58,882. The transportation secretary used the jets, managed by the Federal Aviation Administration, to traverse the country, often traveling to local events where he delivered remarks awarding federal funding and grants for local infrastructure projects.

For example, in August 2022, Buttigieg and his staff traveled to Florida, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Ohio, Nevada and New Hampshire, most of which are considered “swing states” during federal elections, on the so-called Building a Better America Tour where he unveiled grants earmarked under President Biden’s 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. 


Buttigieg’s use of the FAA aircraft for that trip cost taxpayers an estimated $14,940 and was justified by “exceptional scheduling” needs. 

In another example of his use of the FAA’s jets, he and his staff spent $1,822 in April 2022 to travel to New York City for a radio interview and two meetings before returning hours later. Scheduling considerations were again used to justify the travel arrangements.

And Buttigieg most recently used the executive fleet to travel to Mexico for a meeting with the nation’s president. That trip cost $14,029 and was justified by “exceptional scheduling; communications or security needs,” according to the OIG report.

The OIG noted that, based on DOT’s internal calculations, the three trips justified by cost-effectiveness saved a total of $10,678. However, the inspector general found that the agency is not required to “provide documentation to support commercial flight costs or availability information used in cost comparisons,” meaning it is impossible to prove those cost savings.


“As the report confirms, the Secretary travels by commercial airline the vast majority of the time and has directed that travel and logistical decisions be grounded in efficient and responsible use of taxpayer dollars,” a DOT spokesperson told Fox News Digital in a statement. 

“The exceptions have been when the Department’s career ethics officials, who have served under both Democratic and Republican administrations, determined that the use of a 9-seat FAA aircraft would be either more cost-effective or should be approved for exceptional scheduling or security reasons,” they added. “The majority of times the FAA aircraft was used actually saved taxpayers money, including in instances that were required for exceptional scheduling needs.”

The report found that Buttigieg opted to travel on commercial aircraft for 57 trips, or for 82.6% of his total trips. By comparison, former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Buttigieg’s predecessor, opted for commercial on 90% of her trips. One of Chao’s trips, though, a trip to France in 2017, cost taxpayers a staggering $69,952, the audit showed.

Also, in addition to determining the costs of Buttigieg’s travel, the DOT OIG found that the agency, under both Buttigieg and Chao, complied with federal regulations, policies and procedures for the two secretaries’ travel on the FAA fleet. But it also noted the agency has used incorrect cost estimates when determining the cost of traveling on the jets, an error that did not negatively impact cost-effectiveness.

“In this holiday news dump, the Inspector General admits that the Department of Transportation has been using incorrect flight cost estimates to justify Secretary Buttigieg’s use of a taxpayer-funded private jet,” Caitlin Sutherland, the executive director of Americans for Public Trust (APT), told Fox News Digital. “After stonewalling the release of records for over a year, the Biden administration will try to say Buttigieg is in the clear, but Americans will see through this thinly-veiled attempt to exonerate the Secretary.

“Travelers are spending their hard-earned money and countless hours on flights to see loved ones this holiday season,” she continued. “As they sit on the tarmac, they’ll have plenty of time to wonder why they’re paying for their own commercial flights and Buttigieg’s private flights, too.”

The OIG audit was initiated in late February after Fox News Digital revealed Buttigieg’s use of the jets, citing information obtained by Americans for Public Trust, a conservative-leaning watchdog group, in December 2022. 

Following the Fox News Digital report, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., sent a letter to the OIG requesting the investigation.

“It is unclear why Secretary Buttigieg would require such costly travel in these instances when more economical options were reportedly available,” the Republican lawmaker wrote at the time.



📬 Join our community of patriots & and stay vigilant by keeping an eye on the proceedings.
Get “early alerts” from some of your favorite conservative news sources, exclusive reports, network-only offers, and political content delivered straight to your inbox.

🇺🇸 #PatriotWatch2024 🇺🇸

The 2024 election 🇺🇸 is upon us, and it's crucial that we stay informed and united. Join us and show your support. Help to see that our democracy thrives!

Living Under Democratic Rule

A Survival Guide For Republicans, Conservatives, & Libertarians

Democrats hate the Constitution. They hate individual liberty. They hate freedom. But they didn’t just wake up this morning snarling and twirling their handlebar mustaches, born with an innate desire to be “the bad guys.”

Democrats’ hatred for your liberty has a driving force: the need to control

Living Under Democrat Rule will first take you a little deeper into what makes Democrats such a problem. Then we’ll explain how important it is to your well-being to be smarter than the Democrats.

Patriot Watchdog: Election 2024

Join For Updates & Show Your Support For Election 2024

(politics) Elect Form


Patriot Watchdog: News, Politics, Opinion & More

Stay in the loop! 📬 Join our community and get the latest updates, exclusive content, special offers and political content delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscription Form
Trump Campaign 2024 - Support For The Right @RedAsHell.com
(politics) Get the latest updates news and more politics content.

Patriot Watchdog: News, Politics, Opinion & More

Stay in the loop! 📬 Join our community and get the latest updates, exclusive content, special offers and political content delivered straight to your inbox. 

Exclusively for patriots who support viewpoints that lean towards a conservative or "right-wing" perspective. Members of this network support viewpoints that lean towards a conservative or "right-wing" perspective and believe in the importance of preserving traditional values and principles, and support commentary that reflects these beliefs.

What can you expect? You can expect to see news, commentary and content of a conservative nature, receive periodic newsletter emails (which you can turn on/off as you wish), optionally engage in meaningful discussions/share insights, gain access to exclusive tools/resources and stay informed about the latest developments in the US economy, news, and politics. Access is always 100% free and active participation is optional. 

Calling All Red Blooded Patriots...

Patriot Watchdog: election 2024
Are You IN Or Out?

Attention all red-blooded patriots! 🇺🇸 The 2024 election is upon us, and it's crucial that we stay informed and united. Join RedaShell's Patriot Watchdog to keep a vigilant eye on the proceedings and show your unwavering support. Stand with us, be the voice of the nation, and let's ensure our democracy thrives! #PatriotWatch2024"



Subscription Form

youir privacy is 100% protected