A government watchdog group is looking into the timing of Steven Mnuchin and his wife Louise Linton’s trip to Kentucky that gained notoriety following a dramatic exchange on Instagram, saying the trip “seemed to be planned around the eclipse.”
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for documents on Treasury Secretary Mnuchin’s use of a government plane for the trip and any other such travel.
The group is requesting records on the authorization and costs for the trip and any other uses of a government plane since Mnuchin's appointment as treasury secretary.
Mnuchin and Linton traveled to Kentucky on Monday for Mnuchin to make remarks on the tax code at a luncheon with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Mnuchin and Linton later went to tour Fort Knox and “view the eclipse,” according to CREW.
“The requested records would shed light on the justification for Secretary Mnuchin’s use of a government plane, rather than a commercial flight, for a trip that seems to have been planned around the solar eclipse and to enable the Secretary to secure a viewpoint in the path of the eclipse’s totality,” CREW wrote on its website.
A Treasury Department spokesperson told The Washington Post the flight was cleared appropriately and the Mnuchins payed for Linton to attend.
A photo Linton posted of herself and Mnuchin exiting a government plane during the trip sparked controversy.
In the photo, Linton was wearing a number of designer clothing articles and tagged the photo with the names of each label. When a commenter posted “Glad we could pay for your little getaway #deplorable,” Linton replied with a stream of condescending remarks, calling the woman “adorably out of touch.”
She has since apologized for the comments.