Attorney General Perks Include Personal Use of Agency Aircraft

FBI Director Robert Mueller and Attorney General Eric Holder FBI Director Robert Mueller and Attorney General Eric Holder AP file photo

The Justice Department spent $11.4 million on executives’ non-mission aircraft travel from 2006 through 2011, nearly a quarter of which was for personal travel.

The attorneys general and FBI director serving in this period overwhelmingly accounted for the travel, taking 95 percent of the flights, according to the Government Accountability Office. The AGs and FBI director partially reimbursed the government for the personal trips, in accordance with the law, GAO found.

The executives were only on the hook for the cost of an equivalent commercial flight for a government employee, auditors said. For example, the attorney general took a personal trip to New York in November 2010, costing the government about $16,000. The AG reimbursed the government $420. 

The Justice Department retains an aircraft fleet primarily for missions such as surveillance and drug-trafficking prevention, but allows executives to use the crafts for non-mission travel as well.

Fifty-one percent of the AGs’ non-mission flights were for business -- for example, a speaking engagement on behalf of the agency or a meeting with government officials -- while 41 percent were personal. Ninety-seven percent of the FBI director’s trips were business related.

Federal regulations stipulate the AG must use Justice aircraft for all flights, including personal trips, for safety and communication reasons. The FBI Director now faces the same mandate, but the rule did not apply to the position until 2011.

The FBI maintains its fleet in a covert location and spent $1.5 million transporting its aircraf from that location to Ronald Reagan National Airport outside Washington prior to non-mission flights by the AG and FBI director. 

This story was updated with addtional detail. 

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.