President Bush, preparing to revamp the policy covering travel by White House chief of staff John Sununu, is weighing advice that would curb Sununu's discretionary power over use of government planes, officials say.
Bush said Wednesday he likely would announce the policy changes within 48 hours.The president has maintained that Sununu has acted fully within existing policy guidelines. But Bush also indicated he was not particularly happy with the policy, which allows Sununu to use his own discretion on which trips necessitate reimbursement to the government and which ones are official business and thus do not require reimbursement.
"I'm going to have some changes I'll announce soon," Bush told reporters.
Bush ordered his legal counsel to review the policy following disclosures that Sununu used government aircraft extensively on personal and political trips under a Reagan-era doctrine that has the chief of staff and national security adviser travel on government planes for all travel. They must reimburse the government when it is political or personal business.
Also to be disclosed, probably at the same time the White House puts out the policy changes, are records showing who paid various reimbursements for Sununu's non-official travel, officials have said.
Sununu earlier released a list of his travel and showed which trips he had determined to be political or personal. But he initially refused to indicate the source of the reimbursement for the non-official travel.
According to the documents released by Sununu, the government has been reimbursed $47,000 for trips that cost the government as much as $500,000.
Political travel generally is reimbursed to the government by the Republican Party or a specific candidate's campaign.