Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) pressed the FBI for answers about waste, fraud, and abuse allegations following a Daily Wire investigative report on how the bureau moves its $60 million jet around, allegedly to spare Director Christopher Wray from traffic.
In January, a whistleblower told The Daily Wire that Wray summons the bureau’s Gulfstream G550 to nearby Washington, D.C., area airports to spare himself the 30 miles of Interstate 66 traffic to get to its base at Manassas Regional Airport in Virginia. Records obtained by The Daily Wire show the jet has made the roughly 15-minute flight between the airports 140 times since 2020.
Grassley told The Daily Wire he has spent months trying to get to the bottom of whistleblower reports that allege the FBI is moving its taxpayer-funded jet to satisfy the convenience of a few government bureaucrats.
“It’s disappointing that the FBI has failed to fully and completely answer my questions, but unfortunately it’s par for the course for an agency that refuses to hold itself accountable to the American people,” Grassley said. “I intend to continue pushing for answers.”
Grassley penned a letter to the bureau the day after the report was published, demanding answers about the total cost of such flight activity and the bureau’s reasoning for what was reported.
Nearly two months later, the bureau allegedly left Grassley’s questions unanswered and incomplete. In a follow-up letter on April 3, Grassley said the bureau spent most of its response explaining that the “FBI Director is a ‘required use’ traveler,” and so must travel on government aircraft.”
“This is something I am fully aware of and never questioned in my letter,” Grassley wrote.
“To be sure, if there are legitimate security reasons necessitating these transfers, as the FBI’s March 23 letter implies, that would be one thing,” he added. “If they are for mere convenience, that is yet another.”
Grassley’s latest request again sought to gain information the FBI initially failed to address, a list of new questions for the bureau to answer, and internal documents concerning the bureau’s jet.
Although the letter asked for a response by April 17, a spokesperson from Grassley’s office said the FBI acknowledged receipt of the April 3 letter but has yet to respond.
Members of Congress have a constitutional duty to conduct oversight on government agencies and officials, Grassley said, especially when there are reports of gross mismanagement of taxpayer dollars.
In 1993, President Bill Clinton fired then-FBI Director William Sessions after several accusations that he had wasted taxpayer money, which included improperly using an FBI plane to visit his family.
Wray’s use of the bureau’s jet came under heavy scrutiny last year when the New York Post investigation found the Gulfstream made eight trips in the four months to Atlanta, where Wray has a house in the exclusive Buckhead district. Wray also cut short a Senate oversight hearing on August 4 to fly to a vacation getaway in New York’s Adirondacks after telling Grassley that he had to attend “business.”
In a statement to The Daily Wire, the FBI reiterated its denial that Wray used the jet to avoid automobile traffic as “categorically false” when asked about Grassley’s letters.
“The FBI is not going to comment on specific plane locations because of operational and security sensitivities,” the bureau statement said. “The FBI Director’s use of FBI aircraft is long-established and continues due to the mission needs of the FBI and the FBI Director’s security requirements.”
Former FBI agent Kyle Seraphin tipped off The Daily Wire about the alleged misuse of the bureau’s after the agency suspended him indefinitely without pay in June 2022 for making complaints of questionable activity within the bureau and refusing to comply with its COVID vaccine mandate.
Seraphin condemned the agency for continuing to resist Congressional oversight.
“The FBI continues to resist oversight from the statutorily defined committees in the House and the Senate meant to serve as guardrails for the FBI use of power and funding,” Seraphin told The Daily Wire. “We don’t need to look further than the behavior of this agency to see those running the Bureau believe they are above the elected representatives in Congress.”
“And based on the increased budget year over year, there is no reason for those at the FBI to expect much in the way of consequences,” he added. “I hope Sen. Grassley follows through with consequences for this pattern of behavior.”