- Screenshot via Twitter
A political watchdog is looking into US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s trip to Louisville, Kentucky, this week in which he reportedly advocated a tax-code overhaul. The organization thinks the travel may have been used as cover for Mnuchin and his wife to watch the solar eclipse.
The watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for details about the trip, which it said appeared to have been “planned around” the eclipse, The Washington Post reported on Thursday night.
Kentucky was one of the best places in the US to view the eclipse, with the western part of the state located on the path of totality. Mnuchin and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is from Kentucky, spoke at a luncheon in Louisville from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. local time on Monday, The Post reported. The partial eclipse in Louisville began at 12:59 p.m. and ended at 3:51 p.m., The Post noted.
Such speaking engagements have been routine for McConnell, who normally takes questions afterward. A Louisville Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman told The Post that this time McConnell and Mnuchin “went right on out.”
They watched the solar eclipse from atop Fort Knox, near Louisville and just outside the path of totality. McConnell posted a picture of himself with Mnuchin. In the photo, McConnell is seen holding the protective eyewear required for viewing the eclipse.
“The U.S. Department of the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and I in front of the main door to the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox before we viewed the #solareclipse from the rooftop today,” McConnell’s Facebook caption said.
McConnell said Mnuchin invited him to join in on the eclipse viewing at Fort Knox. “It just kind of came up as a result of a casual conversation,” the Senate majority leader told reporters, according to The Post.
Mnuchin’s wife, Louise Linton, had posted a photo of herself and Mnuchin exiting a government jet in Kentucky on Monday in which she tagged several high-end designers. The picture drew fierce criticism online, with one commenter calling Linton “deplorable” for flaunting her wealth. Linton snapped back, calling the commenter “adorably out of touch.” Linton later apologized for the remark.
An unnamed Treasury official told The Post that Mnuchin was “reimbursing the government” for Linton’s travel.