Cummings Urges Gowdy to Issue Subpoena to White House and HHS for Documents Withheld on Private Flights

Nov 1, 2017
Press Release

Cummings Urges Gowdy to Issue Subpoena to White House and HHS for Documents Withheld on Private Flights


White House Fails to Respond to Bipartisan Request; HHS Appears to Scrub All References to Kellyanne Conway


Washington, D.C. (Nov. 1, 2017)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter requesting that Chairman Trey Gowdy issue a subpoena to compel the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to produce all documents they requested as part of the Committee’s investigation into the use of non-commercial, charter, and military flights.


President Trump fired HHS Secretary Tom Price for taking dozens of non-commercial flights at taxpayer expense, some of which were also reportedly joined by Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway.


“By now, the White House and HHS should have produced complete manifests with lists of all passengers who joined these flights, as well as the full costs of each flight,” Cummings wrote.  “Unfortunately, the White House has provided no response whatsoever to the Committee’s bipartisan follow-up request on October 17, 2017.  We have received no manifests, destinations, dates of use, purposes, or costs of trips.  We have received no information on why the White House has failed to respond to this Committee’s second request for these documents.  As a result, we are not able to determine the number of flights Ms. Conway joined with former Secretary Price or others, how much these flights cost the American taxpayers, or whether she will reimburse the Treasury for the costs of flights the President has already deemed inappropriate enough to fire former Secretary Price.”


On September 27, 2017, Gowdy and Cummings sent a bipartisan letter asking the White House, HHS, and other agencies to produce by October 10, 2017, “the aircraft manifest (including all passenger names), destinations, dates of use, purpose, cost of each trip, and the source of payment for the trip.”  When those offices failed to produce these documents, Gowdy and Cummings sent bipartisan follow-up requests on October 17, 2017, seeking compliance no later than October 31, 2017.  The White House failed to respond.


Cummings also raised concerns about the response submitted by HHS yesterday, noting that the Committee also should have received answers to two related questions he raised over the past several weeks:


  • First, did former Secretary Price in fact submit the check he promised to reimburse the American taxpayers for his flights?
  • Second, will Ms. Conway provide a similar reimbursement for the flights she joined with former Secretary Price and others?


“To date neither HHS nor the Department of the Treasury has produced a copy of Secretary Price’s reimbursement check, which is clearly within the scope of our joint document request,” Cummings wrote.  “The agencies also have refused to explain to us whether they have received a copy of the reimbursement check.”


“Moreover, last night HHS sent documents to the Committee in response to our requests, but these documents are so highly redacted that it is impossible to tell which other government officials or non-government officials joined Secretary Price on his charter flights,” Cummings added.  “For example, if Ms. Conway in fact joined any of these trips, it appears that her name has been intentionally concealed from these documents to eliminate any public reference to her participation.”


Click here to read today’s letter.


Click here to see a sample of the extreme redactions on HHS documents.


Click here to read the October letter Cummings to HHS requesting a copy of Secretary Price’s reimbursement.


Click here to read the October letter Cummings sent to Kellyanne Conway.

115th Congress