The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of the Inspector General has just opened a formal inquiry into Secretary Steve Mnuchin for taking his much-publicized trip on a government jet to Kentucky with his wife, to watch the eclipse from Fort Knox. Ethics watchdogs quickly questioned why Mnuchin needed a government jet to make the short trip with his snobby wife, and now it’s become an official investigation.
Secretary Mnuchin says that he really scheduled the trip to Kentucky to speak at a local chamber of commerce event with Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
But his scheduled speech ended at just the right time to visit Fort Knox with the Senator, Kentucky’s Governor, among others, for the ideal view of the total solar eclipse. The Washington Post reports:
“We are reviewing the circumstances of the Secretary’s August 21 flight . . . to determine whether all applicable travel, ethics, and appropriation laws and policies were observed,” counsel Rich Delmar wrote in a statement to The Washington Post late Thursday.
“When our review is complete, we will advise the appropriate officials, in accordance with the Inspector General Act and established procedures,” Delmar added.
After the eclipse, McConnell captioned his Facebook photo with Mnuchin “We viewed the #solareclipse from the rooftop today,” but later edited the post to include more official sounding duties.
Treasury Secretary Mnuchin’s new bride Louise Linton caused a media firestorm during that trip by tagging her extensive designer clothing collection and then lashing out in a rant that belittled her critics for not being rich.
Trump’s wealthy Secretary Mnuchin was known as “the Foreclosure King” prior to his appointment and claims that he’s paid for his wife’s share of the travel expenses on their Kentucky trip.
However, our Cabinet Secretaries aren’t supposed to fly government jets frivolously and federal guidelines are clear on that matter.
Mnuchin didn’t care about the rules, however, and his haphazard trip has drawn comparisons to cartoon character Scrooge McDuck’s dives into a gigantic vault of money.
Now, Mnuchin faces possible discipline from the watchdog in his own Treasury Department. For the couple that takes so much pride in duping American taxpayers, here’s hoping the punishment is swift and severe.
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition