Opinion

Eric Holder defends using Justice Department airplane for 27 personal trips

|
Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Joel Gehrke,Eric Holder,Justice Department

Attorney General Eric Holder disputed a Government Accountability Office report on his use of Justice Department airplanes for personal trips, saying it overstated the number of trips he took and failed to recognize that some trips were job-related.

"My staff keeps telling me to take it easy, you know, well, this is one that gets me," Holder told Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing. "There was this notion that we've taken -- I think it was described as hundreds of personal trips. That was wrong. GAO counted flights, not round trips. And we looked at it and figured out from the time period that they were looking, we took not hundreds, but 27 personal, four combined -- official and nonpersonal trips -- and none of the trips that I took or that the [FBI] director took ever had an impact on the mission capability of those airplanes."

Holder made the comment when asked if he would report those trips to the General Services Administration in the future.

"We didn't have a reporting requirement that existed before," he said. "If they want to change those rules, we'd be more than glad to make sure that we share that information with the appropriate organization, but this is something that is really wide open."

Holder noted that he has responded to multiple Freedom of Information Act requests and provided the information to GAO, as well as to Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

"Just so that people understand that we're making appropriate use of DOJ aircraft," Holder told Wolf. "A lot of this stuff was described as mission and nonmission, and the way in which that was defined was not necessarily correct, because a nonmission trip -- for instance, the trip that I took to Newtown to visit the school after the shooting -- was described as a nonmission trip."

View article comments Leave a comment