Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke took a chartered flight in 2017 that cost over $12,000, and the department's inspector general said that cost was avoidable.
The inspector general investigated multiple "allegations of travel-related waste" against Zinke. The office looked at whether his use of chartered or military flights followed relevant regulations and were related to his job at the DOI.
The report said two of Zinke's 2017 chartered flights were OK but that the third flight could have been avoided. In that case, the department paid $12,375 to get Zinke and four others from a speaking engagement in Las Vegas to Montana for a Western Governors' Association meeting.
The problem with that flight was twofold. The Vegas speech had no connection to the Interior Department, and the report says Zinke's office could have changed the time of the speech to avoid the need for the chartered flight altogether.
Zinke has been under scrutiny for his use of taxpayer funds before. In March, media outlets reported that his office spent $139,000 on new doors for his Washington, D.C., office. And in 2017, he was criticized for spending more than $53,000 on three helicopter rides.