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Barney Frank retracts charge on Tim Geithner air travel

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It turns out Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner doesn’t make inappropriate use of military aircraft. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) on Saturday retracted the allegation, saying he had acted “on inadequate information.”

“I have now gotten more information than I had before about the Treasury Secretary’s travel,” Frank, ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, said in a statement. “Based on the information I have now gotten — and that I should have looked into before — I now believe that the Secretary’s travel patterns are appropriate and do not need any mandated change from us.”

In recommendations to a special congressional committee on debt reduction, Frank on Thursday urged the panel to examine Geithner’s travel, saying he never flies commercial. Instead, Frank wrote, Geithner continued a practice begun by predecessor Henry M. Paulson Jr. of using military air transport even when going to safe locations. The cost, Frank wrote, was at least $150,000 per trip.

Asked Saturday whether Geithner does use military transport, spokesman Anthony Coley said by e-mail: “He does when necessary.”

— Lori Montgomery

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