Is Atty. Gen. Michael Mukasey’s frequent flights for personal trips an abuse?
By Marisa Taylor
WASHINGTON – Attorney General Michael Mukasey has taken personal trips on government jets almost every weekend since he took office less than a year ago at a cost to taxpayers of more than $155,800, Justice Department and Federal Aviation Administration travel records show.
Mukasey took so many trips to his home in New York on FAA, FBI or Drug Enforcement Administration planes that he was outside Washington a third or more of February, May, July, August and September. From November 2007 to September 2008, he traveled to New York 45 times, according to the records, which were released in late October in response to open records requests that McClatchy filed nine months ago.
Justice Department officials defended Mukasey’s personal travel, saying that he has no choice but to fly on a government plane to see his family. Mukasey, unlike most other Cabinet members, is required to fly on government planes, rather than commercial ones, for security reasons, and he often worked from home, the officials said.
“When he travels personally, the attorney general pays what any other government official would pay for a commercial flight to that location,” Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said in a statement. “It would be unfair to penalize financially the attorney general because he is one of the few government officials required to use government aircraft for all travel.”
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