The Slatest

Tom Price Apologizes for Taking a Jillion Taxpayer-Funded Charter Flights, Sort of Promises to Pay Them Back

Tom Price at the White House on March 7.

Carlos Barria/Reuters

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has apologized for taking a bunch of crazy-expensive charter flights (on routes that were often also served by commercial airlines) at taxpayer expense:

The catch? While the government has spent an estimated $400,000 on the flights in question, he’s only going to pay back $50,000 of it, which HHS explains in a very carefully worded statement about reimbursing the cost of his “seat”:

What the Secretary has done is say that while all of this travel was approved by legal and HHS officials, the Secretary has heard the taxpayers’ concerns and wants to be responsive to them. That’s why he’s taking the unprecedented step of reimbursing the government for his share of the travel. Secretary Price will write a personal check to the US Treasury for $51,887.31. The taxpayers won’t pay a dime for his seats on charter planes.

The bad news for the taxpayers is that they will still pay back all 3.5 million dimes that were spent on the other seats on those planes, I guess.