NOVEMBER 03, 2008
The federal government’s chief law enforcement officer, U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, has charged U.S. taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars in less than a year to take personal trips on government jets.
Although most government officials, including the head of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), are forbidden from taking personal trips on government planes, Mukasey and other cabinet members are permitted and the attorney general does it regularly. He has taken costly personal flights on government jets almost every weekend since he took office less than a year ago.
According to Justice Department and FAA records obtained by a major news organization, the journeys have cost taxpayers $155,800. The attorney general took so many trips to his New York home on government planes that he was away from his Washington D.C. office more than a third of February, May, July, August and September. From November 2007 to September 2008, Mukasey traveled to New York 45 times.
Other high-ranking government officials of Mukasey’s stature didn’t travel nearly as much. During the same time period, Defense Secretary Robert Gates took less than six personal trips and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff didn’t take any personal trips in the last fiscal year.
Mukasey has been criticized in the past for abusing taxpayer dollars. As a federal judge in New York, he and another judge had a long-term security detail that cost $6 million a year, including $20,000 in annual rent paid to each judge because the officers protecting them lived at their house.
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