Price’s First-Class Travel Tab Topped $1 Million
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Price’s First-Class Travel Tab Topped $1 Million

Trump Proposes a $1.1 Billion Tax Cut…For Donald Trump

Million dollar man. Tom Price’s travel has cost taxpayers in our country more than $1 million since May, according to POLITICO. The White House approved Price, the secretary of Health and Human Services, traveling by military aircraft to Africa and Europe this spring and to Asia in the summer. The cost was more than $500,000. Price’s wife, Betty, accompanied him on the military flights. Price said Thursday he would reimburse the government for his travel on domestic trips using private planes—about $52,000—but that would not include the cost of military flights. A spokeswoman said Price has reimbursed the HHS for his wife’s travel abroad. Kathleen Sebelius, a former health secretary, said she always flew commercial when she went overseas. Another predecessor, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, went on a military jet to Cuba. The inspector general is investigating Price’s travel. “I will take no more private charter flights as secretary of HHS,” Price said. Price is one of several Trump officials who have used taxpayer funds to fly by government and private aircraft. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he would only use government planes when he thought it was necessary.

Trump taxes. Trump could cut his tax bills by more than $1.1 billion under his proposed tax changes, according to The New York Times. The estimate is based in part on information from Trump’s 2005 federal tax return, released in March by David Cay Johnston, the editor-in-chief of DCReport.org. The Times’s figure also relies on an estimate by the Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index of Trump’s net worth, calculated to be $2.86 billion. Trump’s proposal to eliminate the estate tax would generate the largest savings, about $1.1 billion. Repealing the alternative minimum tax, meant to prevent America’s wealthiest from using deductions to pay low or no federal income tax, would save Trump $31.3 million. Trump could save about $16 million by taxing some types of business income at 25%.

Trump’s friends

Our Jim Henry and the Dutch public television program Zembla have found that a company that partnered with Trump, the Bayrock Group, has been accused of participating in alleged money laundering with the family of former Soviet official Viktor Khrapunov.

The investigation, the third part of “The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump,” aired in Holland on Wednesday despite Khrapunov’s son, Ilyas, going to court in the Netherlands to try to block the piece from being shown.

“We’re about as close as anyone’s gotten to showing the proceeds of crime being invested,” said Henry, the senior editor, investigative economics for DCReport.org.

The documentary looks at deals involving Felix Sater, a mob associate and onetime Trump business partner, and the Khrapunov family. Khrapunov was once the mayor of Almaty, the largest city in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan.

The investments included three apartments in the Trump SoHo tower in New York, bought for more than $3.1 million.

Kazakhstan has accused Khrapunov of embezzling more than $300 million, and Bayrock is on a list of companies that Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Justice alleges were used to launder the money.

Henry, who appears in the documentary, was part of the team of reporters from Zembla, The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and McClatchy’s Washington bureau.

Under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, it’s illegal to launder money connected to previous illegal acts.

Henry said the documentary might help special counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation.

Death by generator. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) blasted the acting chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission for not doing more to improve the safety of portable generators which killed people in Florida after Hurricane Irma. “How many more deaths in the aftermath of this hurricane are we going to have  to see before we finally get the regulatory process of the United States government off its posterior…?” Nelson asked. Ann Marie Buerkle, the acting chair of the commission, has opposed tougher regulation of portable generators and has recommended an attorney for Briggs & Stratton Corp., which makes portable generators, for the job as the top attorney at the commission.

Miracles. Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) is back. Scalise, wounded with four others at baseball practice on June 14, returned to the House floor Thursday. Scalise thanked God, family, friends, colleagues, doctors and the law enforcement officers who killed the shooter before he could do any more harm. “I’m definitely a living example that miracles really do happen,” Scalise said.

Brief waiver. The Trump administration is waiving a federal shipping law to help get more supplies to Puerto Rico. The waiver will be in effect for 10 days. The Jones Act requires goods shipped between points in the United States to be carried by vessels built, owned and (mostly) operated by Americans. “It is an act of justice,” said San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz.

September 29, 2017