HHS Execs Living it Up on the Taxpayer Dime: $31 Million on First Class Flights in Four Years

According to hhs.gov, the official website of the Health and Human Services Department, the agency’s mission is “protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves.”

While many might automatically associate HHS with the “health of Americans” aspect (think ObamaCare), it’s the “essential services for those least able to help themselves” part that makes this story “interesting”:

According to records received by the Washington Examiner, the HHS spent $31 million on first class and business class between 2009 and 2013.

The records, which were acquired under the Freedom of Information Act, list 7,000 trips, including 253 trips for which a one-way ticket cost more than $15,000. A few examples:

The Food and Drug Administration took 2,000 upgraded trips costing $14 million.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took 3,000 trips costing $11 million.

A flight by FDA inspector David Heiar to India cost $30,000.

Inspector Robert Horan flew to Hong Kong at a cost of $21,427 when coach would have cost $5,021. Another inspector flew to Australia for $12,344 when coach was $543.

While $31 million might be a splash in the bucket compared to an annual budget of $60 billion, the message being sent by HHS is not dissimilar to that of President Obama. On New Year’s Day, for example, the First Couple dined at an exclusive restaurant in Hawaii, where memberships cost as much as $500,000.

Democrats are fond of referring to Republicans as “the party of the rich.” Yet, the Obama administration and the agencies under its watch seem all but blind to the irony. “Do as I say, not as I do” appears to be the adage by which they justify their actions.

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