Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt has been under scrutiny for his lavish travel expenses. He reportedly used tens of thousands of taxpayer money for flying first-class for unspecified security reasons.
Just recently, it was revealed that Pruitt had demanded heightened security, lasting for 24 hours during all seven days of a week on his first day at the EPA in 2017.
According to EPA’s inspector general, Pruitt had himself asked for the security, which was given to him.
"EPA's Protective Service Detail began providing 24/7 coverage of the Administrator the first day he arrived," wrote Inspector General Arthur Elkins after Democratic Sens.
Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Thomas Carper of Delaware inquired about the threats that enabled Pruitt to ask for such nonstop security.
His security was worth more than $3 million. No EPA member received a 24-hour security detail that accompanied them everywhere before Pruitt.
“The decision was made by the Office of Criminal Enforcement, Forensics and Training after being informed that Mr. Pruitt requested 24/7 protection once he was confirmed as Administrator," explained Elkins.
He added, his office which was responsible for investigating threats made to EPA employees, “played no role” in Pruitt’s security decision.
On the contrary, EPA officials and Pruitt have maintained the decision of getting increased security protection was made before he arrived at the agency.
Agency spokesman Jahan Wilcox just recently said in a statement, “EPA’s Office of Inspector General does not determine security assessments. EPA’s Protective Service Detail handles security decisions and this particular decision was made before Administrator Pruitt arrived at EPA.”
Pruitt's agency has also long claimed that his extensive security detail was justified because he and his family have received death threats dating back to 2017.
The chief said he had left the decision of security measures and his traveling decisions to Pasquale "Nino" Perrotta, the special agent in charge of protecting the EPA head. The special agent has been under scrutiny for Pruitt’s lavish travel and security expenses.
Perrotta retired last month.
Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters, Aaron P. Bernstein