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Congressman seeks probe of chartered flights by U.S. energy secretary

Congressman seeks probe of chartered flights by U.S. energy secretary
From Reuters - October 12, 2017

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Democratic U.S. congressman is asking the Energy Departments watchdog to investigate Energy Secretary Rick Perrys travel on chartered aircraft, the congressman said at a hearing on Capitol Hill on Thursday.

U.S. Representative Frank Pallone said Perrys trips on chartered planes need scrutiny in light of the extreme budget cuts the department faces in a 2018 federal budget proposed by Republican President Donald Trump.

In a letter on Thursday to the Energy Departments inspector general, Pallone cited a $35,000 trip Perry took from Washington to a private airport in Kansas that was within a 45-minute drive of Kansas City International Airport.

It is unclear why Secretary Perry would require such costly travel in instances where more economical options were readily available, he wrote.

Perry said in his opening statement in the hearing, being held by the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy, that as a former Texas governor he understood the issue of travel oversight and the need to spend money on travel appropriately and thoughtfully.

I travel a lot to do my job. I do it in a way that I think is thoughtful, he said.

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