Price travel probe to look into HHS decision-making

The investigation into questionable private jet travel by former HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD, will take a closer look at the department, according to Politico.

People with knowledge of the investigation told the publication HHS' Office of Inspector General will look at who approved — or was authorized to approve — Dr. Price's private jet travel, according to the report. The former HHS secretary resigned in September amid a scandal over flying at least 26 times on taxpayer-funded charter aircrafts.

Politico reports HHS Assistant Secretary for Administration John Bardis, who was named to the post by Dr. Price in March, will likely be a focus of the investigation. HHS rules indicate Mr. Bardis is responsible for making sure employees comply with the department and Federal Travel Regulation's travel policy.

HHS declined a request by Politico to interview Mr. Bardis.

"The Trump administration will work to ensure all officials follow appropriate rules and regulations when traveling, including seeking commercial options at all times appropriate and feasible, to ensure the efficient use of government resources," an HHS spokesperson said in a statement to the publication.

Meanwhile, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., has requested that the House subpoena HHS and the White House over questionable private jet travel by Dr. Price and presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway, who reportedly accompanied Dr. Price on some of the flights. The representative is making the request to get more information related to the travel.

Additionally, President Donald Trump announced Monday he has selected former pharmaceutical executive Alex Azar as his nomination for HHS secretary.

 

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