HHS Secretary Price to stop private plane use on business during review

Government watchdog looking into Price's use of charter jets

Price has been under the microscope in recent days over his preference for traveling on private jets in his official capacity as secretary of the Health and Human Services agency.

HHS's Office of Inspector General is reviewing the travel to determine whether it complies with federal regulations, Tesia Williams, a spokeswoman for the OIG, said in an email Friday.

"We take this matter very seriously, and when questions arose about inappropriate travel, we immediately began assessing the issue", the statement said.

Price defended the practice of using private planes on Fox News.

A spokesperson or the Department of Health and Human Services said Price only charters flights when commercial seats are not available. "Of course, as standard operating procedure, that would include review and authorization by the department to ensure full compliance", Murphy said. "I think that's appropriate", said Price. Frank Pallone, Jr., the top Democrat on the House energy and commerce panel, said in a statement Wednesday. An MSNBC/Politico estimate showed other travel options on routes Price has traveled - including a Washington, DC-to-Philadelphia flight Price took recently.

Fox News then aired footage from 2010 of then-Congressman Price criticizing then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi for flying "over our country in your luxury jet and lecture us on what it means to be an American".

Politico first reported that Price has put at least 24 flights on his taxpayer tab with destinations that include a health care conference at a ME resort and health care centers in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.

Price was to attend the two-day conference and spend one night at the hotel which, according to Politico's reporting, offered rooms that start at $499 per night. He also chartered flights to community health centers in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.

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