As Plunderbund has often noted while other Ohio media outlets remain silent, Gov. John Kasich has continued to abuse Ohio taxpayers with impunity when it comes to travel and security costs as he pursues his own self-promotion, even after losing badly last year when he ran for president on the Republican ticket.
The AP reported that the Trump Administration’s Health and Human Services Secretary, Tom Price, resigned Friday after reports surfaced on his gross misuse of taxpayers, who were paying outrageous travel costs on government planes when the same travel by commercial carriers would have cost a fraction of the estimated $1 million-plus costs.
“Price flew at least 26 times on private aircraft at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars, a sharp break with his predecessors’ practice,” Politico reported, noting that Price “used military aircraft for multi-national trips to Africa, Europe and Asia, at a cost of more than $500,000 to taxpayers.” The White House said Price’s trips were approved, but not his use of private jets inside the United States.
What came up short in resolving the matter was Price saying he would reimburse the government for the approximately $52,000 cost of his own seat on his domestic trips. In addition to Price, other Trump cabinet officials like Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke have also come under fire for similar decisions.
Ohio Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown issued a statement following reports of Prices resignation.
“I hope the next Health and Human Services Secretary will work with Congress to lower costs and make healthcare work better for Ohio instead of trying to take away critical tools in the opioid fight and kick Ohioans off their insurance. HHS’ taxpayer dollars should go toward healthcare, not private jets.”
Seema Verma has been mentioned as a possible successor to Price along with FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. Brown voted not to confirm Verma for her post leading the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs health insurance programs that cover more than 130 million Americans.
Reimburse Or Resign
It’s common knowledge among Buckeye watchers that Kasich has abused Ohio taxpayers in much the same way Price abused federal taxpayers.
Spending most of his time out-of-state last year running for president – an office Ohio voters did not elect him in 2014 to pursue – Kasich has racked up untold amounts of money in travel and protection costs as he jaunts around the country pushing his book or appearing on panels or at special events that feature officials of one kind or another who talk policy and programs.
With no media except Plunderbund calling the governor out for spending taxpayer money on his personal ambition, it’s little wonder Kasich is defiant when he’s asked what his costs are and if he will reimburse the public till.
Acting like the teenager in the room, Kasich refuses to fess up about the cost of pursuing national attention related to his loss last year, whether he’ll run for the White House a third time in 2020, or why he’s defending expanded Medicaid when he’s been so against Obamacare, the healthcare law that birthed expanded Medicaid.
If Kasich had half a conscience and wanted to show how responsible public officials can be, he should take his cue from Price and resign if he can’t pay back the full amount he owes taxpayers, expenses that mount by the day but are hidden from public eyes.