Air Force reviews layovers after crew stayed at Trump hotel

The Air Force said Sunday that it doesn't appear any regulations were broken when a military crew flying from Alaska to Kuwait stopped off in Scotland and stayed overnight at a resort owned by President Donald Trump.

But it has decided to investigate all such sleepovers anyway, it said, because of a possible perception that it's "not being good stewards of taxpayer funds."

The stop in March at Trump Turnberry, about 40 miles southwest of Glasgow, has been the subject of an ethics investigation by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee for weeks, but it wasn't publicly disclosed until Politico reported the trip on Friday.

In a letter in June to Patrick Shanahan, who was acting defense secretary at the time, committee leaders said they were investigating whether Trump may have benefited from "receipt of emoluments in violation of the U.S. Constitution."

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TURNBURRY, SCOTLAND - JUNE 08: Donald Trump visits Turnberry Golf Club, after its $10 Million refurbishment on June 8, 2015 in Turnberry, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - APRIL 25: Anti-wind farm protestors demonstrate outside the Scottish Parliament as American tycoon Donald Trump pays a visit on April 25, 20012 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Trump spoke of his concerns over a proposed wind farm, mooted to built near his new GBP 1 billion golf resort, telling the Scottish Parliament that they will destroy tourism in the country.. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - APRIL 23: Work continues on Donald Trump's golf course currently under construction on the Menie estate on April 23, 2012 in Aberdeen, Scotland. Mr Trump will appear before the Scottish Parliaments Economy, Energy and Tourism committee on Wednesday to voice his concerns over the Scottish government's policy of promoting wind power. A decision is expected later this year on the government's plans to erect 11 turbines of the coast next to the Menie estate golf course. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - JULY 10: 10: Donald Trump and Colin Montgomerie share a joke after the opening of The Trump International Golf Links Course on July 10, 2012 in Balmedie, Scotland. The controversial £100m course opens to the public on Sunday July 15. Further plans to build hotels and homes on the site have been put on hold until a decision has been made on the building of an offshore windfarm nearby. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - APRIL 23: Work continues on Donald Trump's golf course currently under construction on the Menie estate on April 23, 2012 in Aberdeen, Scotland. Mr Trump will appear before the Scottish Parliaments Economy, Energy and Tourism committee on Wednesday to voice his concerns over the Scottish government's policy of promoting wind power. A decision is expected later this year on the government's plans to erect 11 turbines of the coast next to the Menie estate golf course. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
US tycoon Donald Trump (C) addresses the media as he officially opens his new multi-million pound Trump International Golf Links course in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, on July 10, 2012. Work on the course began in July 2010, four years after the plans were originally submitted. AFP PHOTO / Andy Buchanan (Photo credit should read Andy Buchanan/AFP/GettyImages)
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - APRIL 23: Michael Forbes stands beside his shed, near to Donald Trump's golf course which is currently under construction on the Menie estate on April 23, 2012 in Aberdeen, Scotland. Mr Trump will appear before the Scottish Parliaments Economy, Energy and Tourism committee on Wednesday to voice his concerns over the Scottish government's policy of promoting wind power. A decision is expected later this year on the government's plans to erect 11 turbines of the coast next to the Menie estate golf course. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - JULY 10: Donald Trump plays a round of golf after the opening of The Trump International Golf Links Course on July 10, 2012 in Balmedie, Scotland. The controversial £100m course opens to the public on Sunday July 15. Further plans to build hotels and homes on the site have been put on hold until a decision has been made on the building of an offshore windfarm nearby. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
US tycoon Donald Trump plays a stroke as he officially opens his new multi-million pound Trump International Golf Links course in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, on July 10, 2012. Work on the course began in July 2010, four years after the plans were originally submitted. AFP PHOTO / Andy Buchanan (Photo credit should read Andy Buchanan/AFP/GettyImages)
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - APRIL 23: Michael Forbes stands beside his shed, near to Donald Trump's golf course which is currently under construction on the Menie estate on April 23, 2012 in Aberdeen, Scotland. Mr Trump will appear before the Scottish Parliaments Economy, Energy and Tourism committee on Wednesday to voice his concerns over the Scottish government's policy of promoting wind power. A decision is expected later this year on the government's plans to erect 11 turbines of the coast next to the Menie estate golf course. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - JULY 10: Donald Trump (2nd R) opens The Trump International Golf Links Course as (L-R) George O'Grady, Colin Montgomerie and Don Trump Jr look on, on July 10, 2012 in Balmedie, Scotland. The controversial £100m course opens to the public on Sunday July 15. Further plans to build hotels and homes on the site have been put on hold until a decision has been made on the building of an offshore windfarm nearby. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - OCTOBER 08: Tripping Up Trump campaigner holds a copy of the newspaper Menie Voices outside Robert Gordon University on October 8, 2010 in Aberdeen, Scotland. US business man Donald Trump recieved his honourary award of Doctor of Business Administration from the University. Mr Trump is currently building a golf development at the Menie Eastate outside Aberdeen. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - APRIL 25: Donald Trump speaks during a press conference following his address to the Scottish Parliament on April 25, 20012 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Trump spoke of his concerns over a proposed wind farm, mooted to built near his new GBP 1 billion golf resort, telling the Scottish Parliament that they will destroy tourism in the country. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - APRIL 23: Work continues on Donald Trump's golf course currently under construction on the Menie estate on April 23, 2012 in Aberdeen, Scotland. Mr Trump will appear before the Scottish Parliaments Economy, Energy and Tourism committee on Wednesday to voice his concerns over the Scottish government's policy of promoting wind power. A decision is expected later this year on the government's plans to erect 11 turbines of the coast next to the Menie estate golf course. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
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In a statement Sunday, the Air Force's chief spokesman, Brig. Gen. Ed Thomas, said the trip was booked routinely through the Defense Travel System using "the closest available and least expensive accommodations to the airfield within the crews' allowable hotel rates."

While Thomas didn't explain why the joint Air Force-Alaska Air National Guard flight was routed through Scotland to get to Kuwait, Thomas stressed that, in general, "the stopover of a U.S. Air Force C-17 in Glasgow, Scotland, is not unusual."

"We have found nothing that falls outside the guidelines associated with selecting stopover airports on travel routes and hotel accommodations for crew rest," he said.

Still, Thomas acknowledged that appearances matter, and he said the Air Force's in-house travel agency, Air Mobility Command, was reviewing "all guidance pertaining to selection of airports and lodging accommodations during international travels."

"We understand that U.S. service members lodging at higher-end accommodations, even if within government rates, might be allowable but not advisable," he said. "Even when USAF aircrews follow all directives and guidance, we must still be considerate of perceptions of not being good stewards of taxpayer funds that might be created through the appearance of aircrew staying at such locations."

Thomas told NBC News that C-17s have increasingly used Glasgow Prestwick Airport as a stopover location since 2015 because it's open around the clock, while other military stopover locations aren't. It also has better weather and is less crowded than comparable Scottish airports, he said.

And Thomas said aircrews regularly stay at commercial properties when "military billeting is unavailable due to capacity limits."

On this mission, the crew — seven active-duty Air Force personnel and Alaska Guard members — stayed at Turnberry on its way to Kuwait and at a Marriott hotel on its way back. The cost for both hotels was below the Air Force's allowable daily rate of $166, he said.

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