Steve Mnuchin Redacts His Schedule At Three Times The Rate Of Predecessors
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin used an exemption of the Freedom of Information Act to black out most of his schedule for a day of travel last year that cost taxpayers more than $94,000, the Daily Beast reported Wednesday. He does this at three times the rate of his predecessors.
Mnuchin and his wife’s trip on Aug. 21, 2017, garnered backlash after she posted an Instagram photo of her stepping off a jet in Kentucky, in which she tagged the top-tier designers she wore and argued with a commenter who questioned the legitimacy of leading such a glamorous life, funded by taxpayers. Based on a schedule posted by the Daily Beast, the couple viewed a eclipse either on top or in front of the nation’s gold reserves in the afternoon, but it’s unclear what they did before — the Treasury Department redacted six items on his calendar before 11:30 a.m.
Two more items between a luncheon with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the eclipse were also redacted. There was another redaction before a tour of the gold reserve, then two more before a 5 p.m. phone call with staff — the subject of which has also been redacted. Four more events were redacted after the call, leaving Mnuchin’s whereabouts and work unknown until he attended a speech by President Trump at 9 p.m., according to the schedule.
It was all supposedly blacked out in the name of “techniques and procedures for law enforcement” under Exemption 7 of the Freedom of Information Act. The Treasury has said the redactions are necessary to prevent exposing security protocols that could put Mnuchin in danger, as well as potentially exposing law-enforcement operations.
He is using the exemption at three times the rate of his predecessors, the Daily Beast found. In the first eight months of Mnuchin’s tenure, the Treasury Department has used Exemption 7 148 times, or 18 times per month, on average. By comparison, both Treasury secretaries in the Obama administration used law-enforcement exemptions 235 times in eight years.
This story "Steve Mnuchin Redacted Schedule On Controversial Trips" was written by Alyssa Fisher.