“In response to inquiries received from members of the public, we are reviewing the circumstances of the Secretary's August 21 flight to Louisville and Ft. Knox, to determine whether all applicable travel, ethics, and appropriation laws and policies were observed,” Rich Delmar, counsel to the inspector general, said in a statement.
The Office of Inspector General will advise appropriate officials after the review is complete, he said.
The review comes after an ethics watchdog group last week undertook its own investigation into whether the eclipse was the primary motivation for the treasury secretary’s trip.
The Treasury Department has firmly denied that the eclipse played any role in the planning of the trip, which a spokesman said was originally planned for earlier last month but was rescheduled to accommodate the congressional calendar.
“The eclipse did not even factor in the travel decision,” the spokesman told ABC News in a statement last week.
“The facts remain that the Secretary was on official government travel in Kentucky where he and Leader McConnell met with members of the business community to discuss tax reform,” the spokesman added.
“They watched it briefly from outside before they entered [prior to the actual time of full eclipse]. The Secretary was more interested in meeting with Mint personnel, reviewing the security procedures, and viewing the contents of the Depository,” the spokesman said. “The Secretary was more interested in meeting with Mint personnel, reviewing the security procedures, and viewing the contents of the Depository.”
Mnuchin’s Aug. 21 trip to Kentucky first came under criticism early last week after Mnuchin’s wife, Louise Linton, who accompanied the secretary on the trip, posted a photo of her getting off the government plane and tagging the designer brands she was wearing.
The post spiraled into further controversy when Linton responded to a commenter who criticized the post, writing: “Adorable! Do you think the US govt paid for our honeymoon or personal travel?! Lololol. Have you given more to the economy than me and my husband? Either as an individual earner in taxes OR in self sacrifice to your country?”
Linton later apologized for the response, calling it “inappropriate and highly insensitive,” and the Treasury Department said the Mnuchins would reimburse the government for Linton’s travel costs.