Who Needs Government Planes When You're Besties With Nelson Peltz?

At this point the Treasury Department is this close to inking a four-year contract with Spirit Airlines.
Getty Imates

Getty Imates

We know Nelson Peltz is no cheapskate. The kind of guy who arranges stilt-walkers, seven musical acts and a dang hockey rink for his sons' shared bar mitzvah isn't going to pinch pennies when the situation demands a little extravagance. So when Steve Mnuchin's chief of staff needed a quick flight earlier this year, Peltz was all too happy to oblige:

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s top aide flew on a hedge fund billionaire’s private jet to Palm Beach several months ago, people familiar with the trip said, the latest example of senior Trump administration officials using luxury air travel even though it often raises red flags with ethics officials. Eli Miller, Mnuchin’s chief of staff, flew with Nelson Peltz, a founding partner of New York-based Trian Fund Management on the trip. Peltz is an activist shareholder who has sought a board seat at Procter & Gamble, seeking to shake up management.

Look, we know billionaire hedge funders are currently enjoying an open season for flagrant venality, but we've come to expect a little discretion from Peltz. Sure, he's a regular Republican donor, but he's no Singer or Mercer or, god forbid, Icahn. His activism is generally relegated to candy makers his kids have tired of and crumbling corporate empires. This guy actually gave money to No Labels.

But apparently this whole thing can be chalked up to Peltz simply having friends in high places:

A Treasury Department spokesman confirmed the trip but denied there were any ethical issues. “The Treasury ethics office advised Mr. Miller that he was permitted to accept a seat on a plane from a friend with whom he has a preexisting relationship under federal ethics law,” the spokesman said.

We do have to give Peltz credit for finding yet another way to put Steve Mnuchin in hot water over airplane rides. At this point, the only new way the Treasury Secretary could find to cause an uproar over a flight is by taking one with Jeffery Epstein.

Hedge fund billionaire flew top Mnuchin aide on private jet to Palm Beach [Washington Post]