One of the Biden administration’s top issues since assuming office in 2021 has been climate change and the consequences that polluting emissions have on the planet. On numerous occasions, laws and initiatives have been activated to try to counteract these emissions, such as the push for electric vehicles. There is also a means of transport that work is already underway to reduce through the search for new fuels: airplanes.
It turns out that one of the federal cabinet members who is a staunch supporter of these policies, Pete Buttigieg, is being singled out for having abused taxpayer-funded private jets for his personal travels.
FAA sued for concealing Buttigieg's travels
According to a Fox News exclusive report, Americans for Public Trust (APT), "a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to restoring trust in government by holding politicians and political groups accountable for corrupt and unethical behavior," has sued the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for failing to release records on the secretary of transportation’s use of taxpayer-funded aircraft.
"Pete Buttigieg abused taxpayer dollars by using a private jet to fly domestically and internationally. It’s been six months since we helped expose Secretary Buttigieg’s trips, but his agency refuses to tell the American people how much they’re on the hook for his extravagant travel arrangements," explained APT Executive Director Caitlin Sutherland. "Buttigieg’s FAA has stonewalled and refused to adhere to the law for releasing public records, so we’re filing suit on behalf of all Americans who deserve to know how their money is being spent by this administration."
At least 18 trips on official aircraft
Since November, the APT has requested on three occasions that these FAA travel records be publicized. As these records have not yet been released, the federal agency's action is considered an omission of duty.
"The only documents that the FAA has produced to APT were documents previously produced in response to a FOIA request from a different party, and the documents produced are not fully responsive to all three of APT’s requests," the organization says in the lawsuit. "APT accordingly brings this lawsuit to compel the FAA to immediately respond to APT’s FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests and promptly disclose all responsive, non-exempt records."
The APT details in the lawsuit that Buttigieg used at least 18 taxpayer-funded private planes for personal travel between early 2021 and mid-2022.
What does the FOIA say?
According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Freedom of Information Act "has provided the public the right to request access to records from any federal agency. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government. Federal agencies are required to disclose any information requested under the FOIA unless it falls under one of nine exemptions which protect interests such as personal privacy, national security, and law enforcement."
In addition, FOIA "requires agencies to proactively post online certain categories of information, including frequently requested records."