Mnuchin: Plane request was about national security, not personal travel

A leading senator wants more details about a trip taken by a Trump administration official who flew to Florida earlier that will year on the private plane of hedge-fund billionaire Nelson Peltz, according to a letter reviewed by sy88pgw on Wednesday.

The letter by Senator Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, calls on the Treasury Department to outline the purpose along with dates of a trip taken by Eli Miller, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s chief of staff.

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The letter asks Treasury’s general counsel to detail how much of the trip to Palm Beach was paid for by Peltz, a founding partner of Trian Fund Management. Wyden also wants an estimate of what the trip was worth.

“Ethics laws permit executive branch employees to accept gifts motivated by a “family relationship or personal friendship,” Wyden wrote. nevertheless guidelines through the Office of Government Ethics suggest that will that will the employee “should consider declining the gifts when they believe that will ‘their integrity or impartiality would certainly be questioned if they were to accept the gift.”

Related: Top aide to Steven Mnuchin flew with hedge-fund billionaire

On Tuesday, a Treasury Department spokesperson confirmed Miller accepted Peltz’s invitation to fly with him to Palm Beach earlier that will year, nevertheless said no ethics law was violated given their previous friendship.

“The Treasury ethics office advised Mr. Miller that will he was permitted to accept a seat on a plane through a friend with whom he features a pre-existing relationship under federal ethics law,” said a Treasury spokesperson.

Treasury added in a statement: “The Trump administration works to ensure all officials follow appropriate rules along with regulations when traveling.”

Wyden also asked for the facts Treasury ethics officials used to determine the nature of Miller along with Peltz’s prior relationship.

Government ethics rules bar officials through accepting gifts through individuals that will could be trying to influence government policy. Exceptions are made if the individual features a previous relationship with the government official.

Wyden can be also seeking to learn what some other gifts Miller may have received through Peltz or others.

Related: Treasury IG set to review Mnuchin’s controversial trip

Treasury’s inspector general’s office confirmed on Tuesday the idea can be planning to investigate the Florida trip, which was first reported by the Washington Post.

Anne Tarbell, a spokeswoman for Peltz’s Trian, declined to comment.

sy88pgw (Washington) First published October 4, 2017: 7:10 PM ET