Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg unexpectedly traveled to Ukraine last week, adding jet fuel to the fire over his use of private aircraft chartered with public funds.
According to a news statement from the Department of Transportation, Buttigieg traveled to Kyiv to meet with government officials and discuss strategies to rebuild the war-torn nation’s economy, especially by backing investments in transportation infrastructure.
Robert Mariner, who had previously advised the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, was nominated by the cabinet member to serve as a senior advisor in Ukraine.
Reports show a conservative watchdog group has filed a lawsuit against the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, seeking to recover the public’s funding for at least 18 trips taken by him since August 2022, including eight trips to swing states.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has grossly mishandled air travel, according to a statement released by executive director Caitlin Sutherland of Americans for Public Trust (APT). He manages to sidestep that by flying on privately chartered planes to places where commercial airlines go nonstop.
Sutherland also pointed out that for someone who claims to be so concerned about lowering carbon emissions, Buttigieg doesn’t seem to mind the harmful emissions created by his frequent use of private jets. She said it is the height of hypocrisy, and these costs to taxpayers should be investigated immediately.
A report shows that Transportation Department attorneys told the organization on Tuesday that the government would not provide the actual cost of the flights due to security concerns.
Sutherland said Buttigieg looked to be politicizing his job in making the swing-state travels and avoiding accountability and openness.
Buttigieg’s department has refused to respond to a lawsuit, Freedom of Information Act requests (FOIA), and an IG (Inspector General) inquiry into the questionable use of a government plane for swing state trips that appear like campaigning rather than DOT business.
Buttigieg addressed the matter during a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee meeting in September.
Buttigieg told the House hearing that he flew on 638 flights as Transportation Secretary, 607 being commercial, 21 on FAA aircraft, and 10 on DOD aircraft like Air Force One.
In December 2022, Americans for Public Trust discovered that 18 of the 21 trips were aboard FAA-controlled Cessna private jets. The DOT’s IG began an investigation.