Government watchdog group requests records on Mnuchin trip

A government watchdog group is looking into a trip that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin made recently with his wife, Louise Linton, aboard a government plane. On the trip, Mnuchin attended a luncheon for a local chamber of commerce and took a tour of Fort Knox, where he was joined by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The trip made headlines earlier this week after Linton posted to Instagram about it and set off a social media storm when she fired back at one commenter who criticized her. Linton has since deleted the post and apologized. Now the Citizens for Responsiblity and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is investigating whether the purpose of the trip was actually to view the total solar eclipse.

The ethics watchdog filed a freedom of information request for records concerning the trip. “The requested records would shed light on the justification for Secretary Mnuchin’s use of a government plane, rather than a commercial flight, for a trip that seems to have been planned around the solar eclipse and to enable the Secretary to secure a viewpoint in the path of the eclipse’s totality,” according to a statement. On Monday, August 21, the eclipse view at Fort Knox had 97 percent totality.
Sen. McConnell’s press team posted a photo to Instagram showing the senator and Mnunchin “at Fort Knox before viewing the solar eclipse from the rooftop.”

The Treasury Department responded to the allegation, defending Mnuchin’s trip as “official government travel.”
“The Secretary was on official government travel to Kentucky where he and Leader McConnell met with members of the business community to discuss tax reform. Later in the day, the Secretary, Leader McConnell, Governor Bevin, Congressman Guthrie and US Treasurer Carranza visited the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox. Secretary Mnuchin is reimbursing the government for Mrs. Linton’s travel, as is longstanding policy regarding civilians on military aircraft. The trip was originally planned for earlier in August but was postponed to accommodate the Congressional calendar.”


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