As transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg will be on the front line of the battle for President Joe Biden's infrastructure plan
POOL / Stefani Reynolds


  • The DOT inspector general is investigating whether Sec. Buttigieg's flights are compliant with regulations
  • An OMB guidance restricts the use of government-funded planes for official travel or space-available basis
  • A DOT spokesperson argued that the audit would quash false claims against Buttigieg

Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg is under investigation after being accused of using government planes multiple times since taking office in 2021.

According to a memorandum released by the Department of Transportation's (DOT) inspector general, an audit was opened to determine whether Buttigieg's use of government aircraft complies with federal regulations and agency policies.

"Accordingly, we will conduct an audit to determine whether the Office of the Secretary complied with Federal regulations, policies, and procedures regarding executive travel on DOT aircraft," according to the document.

The inspector general noted that the agency has a fleet of aircraft operated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for transporting DOT and FAA senior officials.

However, guidance from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) restricts aircraft use for official travel or on a space-available basis to minimize cost.

The guidance is applied to all government-owned, leased, chartered, and rental aircraft, according to the inspector general.

The opening of an investigation was welcomed by the Americans for Public Trust, a government watchdog group.

"After Americans for Public Trust helped determine Secretary Buttigieg's excessive use of taxpayer-funded government jets, we are pleased to see that his air travel is now under investigation," APT executive director Caitlin Sutherland told Fox News Digital.

"Everyday, Americans have faced unprecedented flight cancellations and disruptions, but Buttigieg has continued to fly private, even on a Coast Guard plane and even when commercial options were readily available," she added.

Meanwhile, a DOT spokesperson said they support the independent audit, arguing that it would "put some of the false, outlandish, and cynical claims about the Secretary's mode of travel to rest."

The DOT spokesperson also insisted that Buttigieg mostly used commercial aircraft.

In December, a separate Fox News Digital report revealed that Buttigieg used a government aircraft at least 18 times on his domestic and overseas travel.

The report noted that the flight records aligned with the Transportation Secretary's schedule of external and internal public engagements obtained by APT.

Buttigieg reportedly used two government-funded Cessna 560XL private jets for his trips in his first 22 months in office.

In one instance, Buttigieg traveled roundtrip from Washington, D.C., to Las Vegas to promote infrastructure projects in Nevada in August 2021 using a government-funded private jet.

The Transportation Secretary also used a military aircraft with his husband, Chasten Buttigieg, to attend the Fifth Invictus Games in Europe.

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio mentioned the report as he urged the DOT inspector general to look into the matter.

A Boeing 737 MAX aircraft landing earlier this week following a FAA recertification flight
Representational image of a flight. GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / STEPHEN BRASHEAR