Panetta Reimburses 1.9% of $860k Travel Costs

Panetta Reimburses 1.9% of $860k Travel Costs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has spent about $17,000 to reimburse the Treasury for frequent travel to his California home, trips that cost the government some $860,000 because he is required to fly in military jets, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

Panetta has paid about $630 per roundtrip flight to his northern California home as required by longstanding government guidelines that set reimbursement rates at the price of a full-fare coach trip.

The plane Panetta generally takes costs about $3,200 a flight hour to operate, or about $32,000 for the 10-hour roundtrip flight, the Pentagon said.

The cost of Panetta’s travel is a sensitive issue because he is overseeing $487 billion in cuts to the defense budget over the next decade as required by a law passed by Congress last year that is aimed at controlling the federal budget deficit.

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