A recent investigation of federal documents suggests that the Department of Defense and NASA have been selling millions of dollars worth of below market price jet fuel to a company owned by the Google founders. Reportedly, the fuel was used by the company H211 to fly Google’s private jets around the world.
According to officials in Santa Clara County, local tax rolls of roughly $500,000 per airplane per have been lost because no property taxes were being paid on the airplanes. H211 keeps their two helicopters and seven airplanes on land that taxpayers own at Moffett Field at NASA’s Ames Research Center.
A deal was struck between NASA and H211 under a NASA Space Agreement. H211 agreed to pay around $100,000 a month in return for letting NASA use some the planes for science.
NBC Bay Area uncovered records that proved only 155 of the over 1,000 flights were used for science. The flights were proved to have used below-market fueling to fly to vacation destinations such as Cancun, Paris, Hawaii and Tahiti. Conveniently, Google’s worldwide headquarters is only 3 miles from the hangar.
Just as these investigations by NBC Bay Area were beginning, the Department of Defense claimed the government would stop selling fuel to H211 starting August 31, 2013. Some members of Congress are pushing for further investigation as the deal between H211 and NASA was a bit fishy to begin with.
Charles Grassley, Iowa Senator, is encouraging NASA’s and the Department of Defense’s Inspector General to investigate further into this case. After NBC Bay Area’s report, Grassley began to speak out about this issue. Grassley stated “If there’s one dollar of taxpayers’ money that is being wasted-- and people know it when it‘s being wasted that obviously is not only a fiscal issue, that’s a moral and ethical issue and probably a violation of law”.
With below market priced fueling purchases totaling just shy of $8 million, many people wonder whether the deal between NASA and H211 is fair. As taxpayers were essentially being used for this deal, it seems ridiculous to have millionaires be flying around in private jets on cheap fuel flying from a hangar with no taxes. Many people are concerned the whole deal between NASA and H211 is just used to have a cheap landing strip and hangar for vacations.