White House moves to purge perks

April 09, 1992|By Knight-Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON -- Responding to growing public disgust over government freebies, the Bush administration has ordered its own perks purge to identify areas that make the president and his people look as though they're wasting taxpayers' money.

Despite the order to scour for perks, Budget Director Richard Darman drew the line yesterday at requiring President Bush to give up Air Force One, saying Americans believe that "the dignity of office" should permit George Bush to travel on the Boeing 747 luxury aircraft.

Last week, after congressional leaders started asking embarrassing questions about White House spending, Mr. Darman issued an unpublicized memo directing all government departments and agencies to scour their budgets for perks, even low-cost ones that look bad.

A Senate subcommittee chairman, Dennis DeConcini, D-Ariz., frustrated by efforts to obtain totals on government spending on chauffeured cars and gymnasiums, had asked Mr. Darman to help compile figures for the panel.

The White House said officials would appear today before a House subcommittee that is examining White House travel, hoping to avoid subpoenas by the panel.

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