Justice Department’s ‘jet-setting executive travel’ gets senator’s attention
Posted Mar 1, 2013 8:32 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is criticizing the use of FBI jets to transport leaders of the Justice Department and FBI.
A new report (PDF) by the Government Accountability Office found that the Justice Department spent $11.4 million between 2007 and 2011 on "non-mission" travel for attorneys general and FBI directors, reports The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times. Such travel can include government meetings, field office site visits, and personal travel by executives required to use government planes.
Grassley thinks the figure is too high.
"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," he said in a statement. “There's no reason they can’t take a less expensive mode of transportation or cut their personal travel.”
Attorneys general and FBI directors are so-called “required use” travelers who must use government aircraft for all travel. A statement by the Justice Department and the FBI says priority is always given to counterterrorism operations when scheduling the jets. The “overwhelming majority” of travel by recent attorneys general and the FBI director “has been for official business travel in furtherance of the department's national security and public safety mission,” the statement said.