EPA chief Pruitt had 24/7 security from day one

Elias Hubbard
May 16, 2018

The Environmental Protection Agency's inspector general is opening an investigation into Administrator Scott Pruitt's use of multiple email accounts.

The EPA chief has been the subject of a steady stream of damaging headlines in recent months, including revelations from the EPA's inspector general this week that Pruitt requested and received 24-hour security beginning his first day in office. And Pruitt has maintained that he left decisions about the size of his security detail, as well as related decisions such as traveling first class for safety, to Pasquale "Nino" Perrotta, the special agent in charge of protecting him.

"What a silly reason you had to fly first class, because of a danger to you, unless you flew first class", Leahy told Pruitt at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing for the EPA.

Pruitt is scheduled to appear before the 13-member Senate Appropriations Committee's subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies on Wednesday morning regarding the EPA's 2019 budget - which Trump has proposed to cut by a fourth.

"Unfortunately, I am concerned that numerous important policy efforts you are engaged in are being overshadowed", she said.

When a Trump administration aide said the report would cause a "public relations nightmare", aides to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and the White House sought to block the study from being made public, according to EPA emails released to the Union of Concerned Scientists under the Freedom of Information Act. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss) said she was "most impressed" with his push to ease regulations and clean up a contaminated site in her state.

Pruitt told the committee that some changes have been implemented since some of the scandals broke, including adding a new requirement that any spending over $5,000 needs to be signed off by several senior officials.

In his testimony before the panel, Pruitt said he would not accept contributions to his legal defense fund from lobbyists or businesses who have business before his agency. The seemingly unending stream of negative reports about Pruitt's behavior drew the ire of some GOP senators and even staff at the White House.

Aides to President Trump's embattled EPA administrator attempted to stop publication of a study into water contamination near military bases nationwide, including former naval bases in Bucks and Montgomery Counties, according to a published report.

Other GOP senators praised Pruitt's policy performance and did not raise any objections over his spending. Sen.

A House committee and the Government Accountability Office also are investigating Pruitt.

"You personally requested that, on a number of those trips", Udall said. In an email replying to questions about her role, Mitchell wrote, "Scott has been a friend and client for a long time so I would not be in a position to speak to you about him or any work I have or might or might not do for him".

"We are making the tough decisions with respect to environmental protection, while at the same time restoring confidence in the American people that we can engage in regulations and not pick winners and losers, and not engage in coercion with our actions", Pruitt said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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