Interior, EPA chiefs: No plans to pay back charter flights

Interior, EPA chiefs: No plans to pay back charter flights

October 3rd, 2017 by Associated Press in Breaking News

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke speaks on the Trump Administration's energy policy at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Photo by The Associated Press /Times Free Press.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Two of President Donald Trump's Cabinet members say they do not plan to reimburse the government for costly charter flights.

Representatives of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt say the trips were pre-approved by ethics officials in their respective agencies and were part of their official duties.

Zinke said he's taken three charter flights while in office, including a $12,375 late-night trip from Las Vegas to his home state of Montana in June. Zinke said no commercial flight was available when he planned to fly for a speech to Western governors.

The EPA said four non-commercial flights taken by Pruitt were approved by ethics lawyers.

Inspectors general for the two agencies have opened inquiries into their taxpayer-funded travel.