Buttigieg Knew: State AGs Warned Transportation Agency Of Airline Debacle Months Ago

Shortly before Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in September that airline issues would ‘get better‘ before the holidays, a bipartisan group of attorneys general warned him that regulators’ lax oversight over the industry was about to lead to chaos.

According to The Lever, federal officials stood by as Southwest Airlines executives, “flush with cash from a government bailout,” showered themselves in cash and dividends, instead of shoring up fundamental issues that have contributed to this week’s travel mayhem.

Four months before Southwest’s mass cancellation of flights, 38 state attorneys general wrote to congressional leaders declaring that Buttigieg’s agency “failed to respond and to provide appropriate recourse” to thousands of consumer complaints about airlines customer service. -The Lever

“Americans are justifiably frustrated that federal government agencies charged with overseeing airline consumer protection are unable or unwilling to hold the airline industry accountable,” the AGs wrote in August, urging Congress to pass legislation which would arm state officials to enforce consumer protection laws against airlines.

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Biden-Buttigieg DOT fails to track aviation imports while prioritizing equity, climate justice

The Transportation Department and the Federal Aviation Administration do not track imports of plane parts, creating serious vulnerabilities that could increase the risk of supply chain disruptions, according to a new report by the department’s internal watchdog.

The DOT and FAA are not required to track aviation imports, but the “COVID-19 pandemic caused major disruptions in the aviation supply chain and highlighted the need for Federal intervention to address associated vulnerabilities,” the Transportation Department Inspector General wrote in a report published last week. 

“We identified several vulnerabilities that increase the risk of aviation supply chain disruptions,” the IG reported, “including the lack of visibility into supply chains, dependence on sole-source or limited suppliers, and lack of access to rare earth metals and elements.” 

The report came in response to a request from Republicans on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and its Aviation Subcommittee after members asked in April 2021 how the agency tracks critical aircraft imports and the number of aviation parts produced exclusively in China or India. 

Overall, France is the leading source of U.S. imports of aviation products, with 24% of the total. Canada ranks second, with 17%. China, accounting for 2% of U.S. aviation imports, comes in at number 10.

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Pete Buttigieg often flies on taxpayer-funded private jets, flight data show

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, an advocate of increased government action to curb carbon emissions, has taken at least 18 flights using taxpayer-funded private jets since taking office, Fox News Digital has learned.

Buttigieg has traveled across the country — visiting Florida, Ohio and New Hampshire, among other states — and out of the country using a private jet fleet managed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), according to flight tracking data reviewed by Fox News Digital. The flight records align with Buttigieg’s schedule of external and public engagements obtained by government watchdog group Americans for Public Trust (APT).

Buttigieg’s predecessor, Elaine Chao, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, faced criticism for using the same jets on seven occasions in 2017, costing taxpayers nearly $94,000, Politico reported at the time. And Trump-appointed Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price was forced to resign after reportedly taking 26 private jet flights that same year, costing taxpayers about $1.2 million.

Bipartisan leaders on the House Oversight and Reform Committee had opened an investigation into several senior Trump administration officials’ use of government-owned and private aircraft for travel days before Price submitted his letter of resignation.

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Buttigieg floats ‘monthly transportation payment’ that ‘covers everything’ to replace car payments

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg suggested that transitioning to a “monthly transportation payment” from monthly car payments could be in America’s future.

Buttigieg also said a “monthly mobility dividend” could lie further out in the future.

“What I mean by that is if we’re looking way out into the future, where we have things like, let’s imagine distributed energy generation where you have resources at your house, whether it’s a dramatically more efficient, even solar panels and wind resources,” Buttigieg said Wednesday at an event hosted by the liberal think tank New America.

“From your home, you can put more into the transportation system than you get out of it through things like energy, so that you would participate in creating so much value that you’d actually get a net dividend on it, instead of paying into it on a net basis,” he added. “Now, that’s pretty far out.”

A “more intermediate goal” in the U.S. would be transitioning from monthly car payments to a “monthly transportation payment that’s quite a bit less than a car payment that covers everything,” said Buttigieg, a Democratic presidential candidate in 2020.

“We’re actually seeing certain glimmers of this now,” he said. “So some of the rideshare companies, for example, are starting to look at mobility as a service where you have some kind of interface, and it’s neutral on whether you’re on one of their bikes, or in one of their rideshare things or just on public transit, or some combination thereof, or it even leads to a train ticket or something.

“All you do is you tell your smartphone, you know, ‘Hey Siri, book me from the street corner I’m standing at to my cousin’s house in Louisville,’ and then Siri figures it out, and you pay once, and it may or may not be a single seat ride, but off you go. That’s a vision, I think, that’s well within our lifetimes, if not within our grasp.” 

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Pete Buttigieg accepted $250,000 and gifts from mayoral campaign donors who were later awarded $33million in city contracts, raising concerns of ‘pay to play’ as Transportation Secretary doles out $210billion in infrastructure plan

Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg’s top political donors received millions of dollars in city contracts after giving thousands to his campaigns while he was mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

Buttigieg’s political action committees took money from 23 companies who then got jobs from South Bend’s Board of Public Works whose members he appointed, documents obtained by DailyMail.com reveal.

On two occasions, the former presidential candidate received donations the same day the companies were awarded contracts.

Other city contractors gifted the mayor cigars, alcohol and golf trips worth hundreds of dollars.

The companies, their executives and spouses donated a total $253,750 to Buttigieg’s campaigns, and received a total of at least $33,310,426 in city contracts between 2011 and 2019. 

After Buttigieg appointed one former company executive to city’s Public Works department, the firm was then handed multiple infrastructure jobs, and became one of Mayor Pete’s largest donors.

Buttigieg served as the mayor of South Bend from 2012 to 2020. He was appointed transportation secretary by President Joe Biden early last year.

Government watchdogs say the pattern of donations and contracts could present the appearance of a ‘pay to play’ scandal – and raises concerns over the $210billion earmarked in the bipartisan infrastructure bill for Buttigieg to dish out in discretionary grants as transport secretary, part of a $1.2trillion budget.

‘The pattern of contracts and donations appears to be a huge conflict of interest,’ Taxpayers Protection Alliance president David Williams told DailyMail.com.

‘This really doesn’t bode well for the secretary of transportation when he has access to almost $1.2trillion in infrastructure money.

‘This is alarming, and very concerning, because this is the swamp personified. You don’t have to be a Rhodes Scholar to look at this and think that something’s wrong here. 

‘Was there a quid pro quo? Was there some sort of backroom deal for these projects? taxpayers deserve answers.’ 

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