From The Washington Post:
Hedge fund billionaire flew top Mnuchin aide on private jet to Palm Beach
By Damian Paletta and Tom Hamburger | October 3, 2017 | 12:36 PM
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s top aide flew on a hedge fund billionaire’s private jet to Palm Beach several months ago, people familiar with the trip said, the latest example of senior Trump administration officials using luxury air travel even though it often raises red flags with ethics officials.
Eli Miller, Mnuchin’s chief of staff, flew with Nelson Peltz, a founding partner of New York-based Trian Fund Management on the trip. Peltz is an activist shareholder who has sought a board seat at Procter & Gamble, seeking to shake up management. He has spoken glowingly about Trump’s proposal to slash tax rates on businesses and the wealthy, which is something designed in large part by senior Treasury officials.
A Treasury Department spokesman confirmed the trip but denied there were any ethical issues.
“The Treasury ethics office advised Mr. Miller that he was permitted to accept a seat on a plane from a friend with whom he has a preexisting relationship under federal ethics law,” the spokesman said.
The article continues to note the regulations for government officials accepting gifts, including travel, from private citizens. It also notes that the precise date of the trip is not known.
Perhaps the real standard ought to be: if you have to ask the ethics office if doing something is OK, you already know that it’s questionable, so just don’t do it! Mr Miller could have flown commercial, first class if he wanted, and no one would have questioned the trip. If even Ivanka Trump, under Secret Service protection as she is, can fly commercial, then the Chief of Staff to the Secretary of the Treasury certainly can.
One of the things that the Democrats never understood is that Mr Trump connected with many voters, who saw the Democrats as nose-in-the-air elitists. Maybe it’s time that the Republicans learn that, if they discontinue the practices which separate the public from our government, they can retain the loyalty of the working class voters, as well as saving the taxpayers money.
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