tinyfav.com April 26, 2018

Security for EPA chief comes at a steep cost to taxpayers

10 April 2018, 08:03 | Myrtle Vega

Ryan Jackson left and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt during a meeting with Western governors. @EPAScottPruitt Twitter

Ryan Jackson left and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt

First-class travel with a large security detail, excessive spending and a discount on a condo rental linked to a lobbying firm - the scandals swirling around Donald Trump's environmental chief keep growing, but the president simply reaffirms his satisfaction with Scott Pruitt.

In the early months of Pruitt's tenure, that round-the-clock security arrangement prompted officials to rotate in special agents from across the country who otherwise would have been investigating environmental crimes; they were assigned to two-week stints helping protect him.

Having built a reputation in Oklahoma - where was attorney general - as a fervent defender of fossil-fuel industries, Pruitt has attacked his new mission with zeal, winning rave reviews from conservative groups but fierce censure from liberals and environmentalists.

Collins also discussed Trump's possible trade war with China, a chemical weapons attack in Syria and her vote for the Republican tax bill and the party's subsequent failure to pass her proposals to reduce health care costs.

In justifying his constant security, EPA officials have said he has received far more threats than previous administrators - some of them "very personal, ugly threats", an assistant inspector general told The Post a year ago.

"Well, first of all, let me say that the actions taken by Scott Pruitt in the environmental arena, whether it is trying to undermine the Clean Power Plan or weaken the restrictions on lead or undermine the methane rules, are reasons enough to validate my decision to oppose his confirmation".

By comparison, Gina McCarthy, who headed the EPA under Barack Obama, used only a half-dozen bodyguards and traveled alone on weekends. He's also reportedly advised his security fleet to use its sirens and lights as he periodically travels late to meetings and dinners.

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The EPA official who spoke to the AP said Perrotta also arranged the installation of a $43,000 soundproof phone booth for Pruitt's office.

At least three congressional Republicans and a chorus of Democrats have called for Pruitt's ouster. He was said to have fallen behind on his payments. John Kennedy reacting the most colorfully.

"While security spending was somewhat more than his predecessor, Scott Pruitt has received death threats because of his bold actions at EPA..." the president tweeted Saturday. 'I like Scott. He's done a good job from my point of view, as being EPA administrator but.

But while the presidential tweet may have eased the pressure, Pruitt is not yet in the clear.

An Associated Press report Saturday on Pruitt's security and travel spending heightened scrutiny over the size of Pruitt's security detail. Sheldon Whitehouse sent to the department's inspector general, CNN reported this week.

The House of Representatives Oversight Committee, chaired by Republican Representative Trey Gowdy, has started looking at Pruitt's housing agreements, according to the aide, that was not authorized to talk openly.

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