Pruitt's security expenses questioned in internal EPA docs

UNITED STATES- AUGUST 4 Sen. Mike Rounds R-S.D. Co Chairman of the Former Governors Caucus is interviewed by Roll Call in the Capitol

UNITED STATES- AUGUST 4 Sen. Mike Rounds R-S.D. Co Chairman of the Former Governors Caucus is interviewed by Roll Call in the Capitol

But, they added, "Another view is that certain factions within E.P.A. have justified the exorbitant taxpayer spending incurred by the Administrator's first-class travel and large entourage of security personnel through unsubstantiated claims about threats to his security, either at the direction of the Administrator himself or others in the agency". Udall and other Democrats said they will introduce a formal resolution calling for Pruitt's ouster "for the good of the American people". Senate Democrats sought to undercut that argument Tuesday, citing a recent internal EPA analysis that concluded "EPA Intelligence has not identified any specific, credible, direct threat to the EPA administrator". EPA officials have said that various threats against Pruitt, including verbal public confrontations, led the head of his security detail to recommend that he fly in the front cabin of planes, both to provide a "buffer" from the public and also so that he could board and exit more quickly.

Pruitt has been under fire by Democrats and some Republicans for frequent first-class air travel, including a trip to Italy that cost $43,000, not including security detail. The vote comes amid calls by Democrats and a few Republicans for President Donald Trump to replace EPA chief Scott Pruitt, whose tenure has been threatened by damaging ethics disclosures.

"I am deeply troubled that members of the committee would publicly release law enforcement sensitive information regarding the safety and security of a cabinet member and his family", Barrasso said in a statement.

The lawmakers in their letter asserted that the documents in their hands fall far short of supporting claims by Pruitt's office that he needed elaborate security measure to protect him from death threats. But Democrats say it's a sign of their frustration with Pruitt over his lavish spending on security, first-class airline tickets bought at taxpayer expense and his bargain-priced rental of a $50-a-night Capitol Hill condo tied to a lobbyist.

"We will respond to Chairman Gowdy through the proper channel", EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said in a statement Wednesday.


The acting director and general counsel of the Office of Government Ethics sent a letter to the EPA with his concerns about Pruitt.

Politico first reported Tuesday that the career EPA security staffer who wrote the February memo, Mario Caraballo, was sacked shortly after the Democrats' account of it became public.

The EPA could not be immediately reached for comment on the senator's letter. Pruitt's 20-member full-time detail is more than three times the size of his predecessor's part-time security contingent.

EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins is conducting at least five investigative audits related to Pruitt, including a probe into questionable spending by his swollen security detail.

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