Price resigns from HHS amid scandal over use of private jets

HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD, resigned Friday amid growing criticism of his extensive use of taxpayer-funded charter flights, according to Politico.

After accepting Dr. Price's resignation, President Donald Trump asked Deputy Assistant Health Secretary Don Wright to serve as acting secretary of HHS, according to the report.

According to Politico, which first reported on Dr. Price's frequent use of chartered flights, Dr. Price flew at least 26 times on a private aircraft, at a cost of more than $400,000. Politico reported Thursday that his use of military aircraft for White House-approved trips to Asia, Africa and Europe cost $500,000.

Federal travel regulations allow for chartered aircraft when "no scheduled commercial airline service is reasonably available." However, Politico revealed there were commercial flights available close to the times of many of Dr. Price's private flights. 

The controversy prompted an inquiry by the House Oversight Committee, and HHS' Office of Inspector General is conducting a review of the matter, according to Politico.

Price said Thursday he would reimburse the government approximately $52,000, which was the cost for his own seat on the unapproved domestic trips. However, that wasn't enough to defuse the travel scandal, which followed complaints from Democrats earlier this year about Dr. Price's investments in healthcare companies that could have benefitted from bills he sponsored, according to The Washington Post.

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