EPA Chief Scott Pruitt's Italian Trip Cost Taxpayers $120,000

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“That’s a lot of money for Mr. Pruitt to tour the Vatican, pose for photos and tell his European counterparts that global warming doesn’t matter.”

President Donald Trump and his administration are known to waste taxpayer money in the most luxurious of ways.

Environmental Protection Agency’s Chief Scott Pruitt has been under fire for flying either business or first-class for unspecified security reasons, costing taxpayer tens of thousands of dollars. Now, a recent disclosure by the agency showed he spent more than $120,000 in taxpayer money for a trip to Italy.

The documents showed expenses by Pruitt and his entourage, which included food, commercial travel, hotel costs totaling $90,000 and security detail alone during the trip that cost more than $30,500.

The trip took place in June 2017 and included meetings of G-7 ministers as well as a private tour of the Vatican. It was just a week after President Donald Trump announced United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement.

The details were disclosed following a lawsuit filed by advocacy group the Environmental Integrity Project.

“Mr. Pruitt’s trip to Rome last summer cost the taxpayers over $84,000. That’s a lot of money for Mr. Pruitt to tour the Vatican, pose for photos and tell his European counterparts that global warming doesn’t matter,” said EIP’s Director Eric Schaeffer.

On the other hand, EPA spokesperson Jahan Wilcox defended Pruitt’s stance and said the precautions were similar to the ones taken by previous administrators.

Pruitt is the first EPA head to have a 24-hour security detail that accompanies him everywhere. He has also taken other measures like adding a soundproof $25,000 “privacy booth,” allegedly to stop people from eavesdropping on his private conversations and having his office swept for hidden listening bugs for $3,000.

He previously stirred controversy after his travel records revealed he spent at least 43 of the 92 days of March, April and May 2017 in his home state of Oklahoma, raising concerns among critics he was cultivating political relationships in the state at taxpayer expense instead of focusing on his job.

After widespread criticism, Pruitt revealed the reason behind his luxurious travel habits.

During an interview for the New Hampshire Union Leader after he arrived on a first-class flight from Washington, he said it was not his decision to fly first class. His only reason for traveling in style is because people are nasty to him in economy class.

 

 

 

Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters, Brendan McDermid

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