Top Justice Officials Toed Rules on Private Use of Jets
A performance audit conducted from March 2012 through February 2013 by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that the U.S. Attorneys General (AGs) and the FBI director reimbursed the federal government for their personal travel in government aircraft in accordance with federal requirements. The study was requested by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), chairman of the House subcommittee on crime, terrorism, homeland security and investigations.
Under federal rules, all AGs and FBI directors are “required use” travelers, who are required by executive branch policy to use government aircraft for all their travel, including travel for personal reasons, because of security and communications needs.
However, according to Department of Justice (DOJ) officials, while the AG has historically been required to use government aircraft for all types of travel, including personal travel, the FBI director had, until 2011, the discretion to use commercial air service for his personal travel.
From Fiscal Years 2007 through 2011, the GAO said the AGs and the FBI director accounted for 95 percent (659 out of 697 flights) of all DOJ executive flights using DOJ aircraft at a total cost of $11.4 million. According to the GAO, 74 percent of these 659 flights were for business purposes; 24 percent were for personal reasons; and 2 percent were for both business and personal reasons.