On your dime: Federal officials fly first class, use gov’t jets for personal travel

Federal officials have no qualms flying the friendly skies in style, regularly using executive jets and other planes in the government’s fleet of 1,700 aircraft for everyday travel. But they often don’t track how much such trips cost or the reasons why they skipped cheaper commercial flights in favor of firing up one of Uncle Sam’s aircraft.

And lawmakers in Congress — usually charged with overseeing or reining in such expenditures — have their own addiction to luxury travel with a growing tendency to fly first class.

Those findings by two separate watchdogs in Congress are the latest examples of a culture of entitlement that pervades federal spending, even in an era of supposed cutbacks and bulging budget deficits, critics warn.

“Secrecy of personal trips taken at taxpayer expense only serves to create a distrust of the federal government,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee and a frequent advocate of greater transparency and austerity in government.

4 Comments - what are your thoughts?

  • I Seigel says:

    Yes, I’d be interested to see how McCain makes all those flights to Afghanistan and Iraq. And Lindsay Graham. And Tea Party Reps Michelle Bachmann, Steve King and Louis Gohmert flying last November to Europe and the Middle East in first class on the taxpayers’ dime. Shame on them!!

  • James says:

    Ok, now if the company you work for lets you use their plane or even the box at a sports game, that is considered income and you have to pay a tax on the cost of operating that plane. Where is the IRS on this? This is supposed to be on a 1099 at the end of the year.

    1. CforUS says:

      I’m fairly certain that congress has exempted themselves from the requirement to claim these trips as income.

  • mort_f says:

    Yes, the czars and the members of Congress, and their ‘technical experts’, have no qualms about using First Class. Do not forget about the family of the POTUS, who fly in First Class Plus. And I, in my million miles of travel as a Civil Servant had, on occasion, flown First Class.

    But my First Class flights were threefold. I did have to carry equipment that by rule, had to fly in seat 1A or 1D, foremost of the foremost passenger. Those flights had to be approved by the Secretary of the Air Force. The other occasions were due to airline screwups, and the only remaining seats available were in First Class. And then there were some ‘volunteer to be bumped’, oversold flights, where the airlines upgraded my ticket as a homeward bound ‘volunteer’.

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