Kevin Johnson USA Today
Justice Dept. Officials' Air Travel: $11M in Four Years
March 1, 2013
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  • By: Kevin Johnson

    Federal review looked at travel for AG, FBI director, other top officials

    Senator who requested the review slammed officials on their personal travel

    Senator: “These luxury jets were supposedly needed for counterterrorism”

    WASHINGTON — Private government aircraft travel for the attorney general, the FBI director and other top Justice Department officials cost $11.4 million during a four-year period ending in 2011, according to a federal review.

    The Government Accountability Office review found that the travel of three attorneys general who served during that period and FBI Director Robert Mueller accounted for 95% of all flights that ferried Justice executives to official meetings, conferences and personal business.

    For security reasons, the attorney general and FBI director are required to take private government aircraft, even on personal business. The review found that the officials reimbursed the government, as required, for the personal travel.

    Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who requested the review, said the use of government aircraft, including two Gulfstream V jets, should be reserved for actual crime-fighting and counterterrorism purposes.

    “These luxury jets were supposedly needed for counterterrorism, but it turns out that they were used almost two-thirds of the time for jet-setting executive travel instead,” Grassley said. “Nobody disputes that the attorney general and the FBI director should have access to the secure communications, but, for instance, there’s no reason they can’t take a less expensive mode of transportation, or cut their personal travel.”