Republicans may have found a new way to go after the Energy Department. Monday, White House sources told reporters, Chief of Staff Leon Panetta scolded DOE Secretary Hazel O'Leary in the wake of a Sunday Los Angeles Times story that portrays O'Leary as a free-spending globe-trotter. In one instance, O'Leary chartered a luxury jet to travel to South Africa with 51 DOE colleagues and some 68 others, including business executives and academic experts, at a cost to taxpayers of $560,000. "The White House is denying Panetta rebuked O'Leary and defending the trips she's made," reports TIME's James Carney. "They like O'Leary, think she's done a good job, and clearly hope this won't snowball into a situation where they have to take more drastic action." Congressional Republicans have a chance to raise the matter Thursday, when O'Leary is scheduled to testify at a House hearing on nuclear waste.