VA Secretary David Shulkin discloses official travel details

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin announced Friday that his department would disclose details about his official travels, in an attempt to be transparent as the travels of other members of the administration come under scrutiny.

The department will regularly update a page that includes any travels by private and government aircraft, as well as itineraries of official international and domestic trips.

“Under this administration, VA is committed to becoming the most transparent organization in government, and I’m pleased to take another step in that direction with this move,” Shulkin said in a statement. “Veterans and taxpayers have a right to know about my official travel as secretary, and posting this information online for all to see will do just that.”

Shulkin’s announcement comes as Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price faces criticism for his own use of private planes for official business. Price has apologized for the chartered flights and vowed to put an end to the practice.

More: HHS Secretary Tom Price apologizes for chartered flights, says he’ll pay for them

According to the VA, Shulkin has not yet taken any private aircraft for official business.

He has taken six domestic trips on government aircraft, four of which were on Air Force One. 

He has also taken two international trips: a September trip to Toronto for the Invictus Games and another to Copenhagen and London. The Copenhagen and London trip included tours of palaces and a river cruise down the Thames.

The Washington Post reported that the VA’s decision to start disclosing Shulkin’s travels came after it obtained a copy of the Europe itinerary. 

The Post reported that the department covered the airfare of and provided per diem for Shulkin’s wife, Merle Bari. The agency told the Post that she was traveling on “approved invitational orders.”

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  • Shulkin speaks alongside President Trump during a Department1 of 17
  • Shulkin participates in a discussion during a conference2 of 17
  • Shulkin and VA Deputy Undersecretary for Health for3 of 17
  • Shulkin speaks during the White House press briefing4 of 17
  • Shulkin looks at his notes before testifying at a House5 of 17
  • Shulkin shakes hands with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii,6 of 17
  • President Trump shakes hands with Shulkin before giving7 of 17
  • Shulkin attends an event for participants of the Wounded8 of 17
  • Shulkin and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis join President9 of 17
  • President Trump speaks with Shulkin during a listening10 of 17
  • Shulkin, far left, joins other White House officials11 of 17
  • Shulkin joins fellow VA officials to testify before12 of 17
  • Vice President Pence shakes hands with Shulkin after13 of 17
  • Shulkin arrives for his confirmation hearing before14 of 17
  • Shulkin leaves a meeting with Donald Trump at Trump15 of 17
  • Shulkin, then the undersecretary of health for the16 of 17
  • Shulkin testifies at a Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee17 of 17

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