EPA chief Scott Pruitt is under fire after revelations that he and his staff have been taking expensive travels, and for his alleged propensity for flying first class instead of the more economical coach.
A new report says that Pruitt cost taxpayers more than $163,000 by taking first-class flights, military aircraft and charter flights in his first year in office. According to EPA records the agency has guidelines for flying coach but Pruitt’s preference for flying first-class cost more than $105,000.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">EPA chief Scott Pruitt cost taxpayers more than $163,000. <a href="https://t.co/GrNUTOXHTJ">https://t.co/GrNUTOXHTJ</a></p>— CNBC (@CNBC) <a href="https://twitter.com/CNBC/status/976501236605300736?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 21, 2018</a></blockquote>
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Some of the costs were not earlier made public but they came to light because EPA records had been turned over to the House Oversight Committee.
Among the listed, more expensive flights include a $16, 217 airfare for a Morocco trip. Then there’s also the $58,000 in costs from the agency chief’s use of charter flights and a military plane. Pruitt and staffers flew by Air Force jet to Cincinnati from Washington for an event with President Donald Trump with a cost f $36,000.
Pruitt and staff also traveled to Italy last year on a combination of commercial flights and a military plane which cost taxpayers more than $120,000, which includes more than $30,000 in costs for his security detail.
The said travels are being probed by the EPA’s Office of Inspector General.
In his defense, Pruitt’s spokesman says he had been flying first class instead of coach at the recommendation of his security team. Jahan Wilcox explains that “EPA’s Protective Service Detail identified specific ongoing threats associated with Administrator Pruitt’s travel and shifted his class based on certain security protocols that require him to be near the front of the plane.”
Pruitt is also the first EPA administrator to require a full-time security detail to be assigned to him 24/7. The total cost for such has not been revealed yet. Pruitt also asked for a $43,000 soundproof “privacy booth” inside his office to prevent eavesdropping on his phone calls. He also spent $3,000 to have his office swept for hidden listening devices.