Tom Price promises to reimburse taxpayers for private flights

WASHINGTON -- Health chief Tom Price said Thursday he will reimburse taxpayers for the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of travel he logged on private jets in recent months.

"Today, I will write a personal check to the US Treasury for the expenses of my travel on private charter planes," the former Roswell congressman said in a statement. "The taxpayers won’t pay a dime for my seat on those planes."

Politico recently published a series of reports detailing Price's extensive use of charter flights to the tune of $400,000 since May.

President Donald Trump said Wednesday he was "not happy" with Price because of the publicly-funded travel and indicated firing his health secretary was not off the table.

"I’m going to look at it," Trump said. "I am not happy about it, and I let him know it.”

A half-dozen House Democrats have since called for Price's resignation. His onetime Georgia colleagues, meanwhile, have largely kept their distance, saying that they would withhold judgement until after the health department's inspector general finishes its review of Price's travel.

Price previously said he would hold off on taking private charters on the public's dime until after that review is complete, but he offered several additional actions on Thursday.

He said he will take no more private charter flights as secretary -- "no exceptions" -- and vowed to cooperate fully with the interdepartmental review.

"All of my political career I’ve fought for the taxpayers," Price said. "It is clear to me that in this case, I was not sensitive enough to my concern for the taxpayer. I know as well as anyone that the American people want to know that their hard-earned dollars are being spent wisely by government officials."

The House Oversight Committee also said it would also review press reports about trips chartered on private jets by Price and other top Trump administration officials.

Read more: Price’s Cabinet post in doubt after flights aboard taxpayer-funded jets

About the Author

Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that...