Home / US / Scott Pruitt wasted nearly $ 124,000 on first and business travel trips, says EPA IG

Scott Pruitt wasted nearly $ 124,000 on first and business travel trips, says EPA IG

The 84-page report states that the $ 123,942 figure is out of a total of $ 985,037 spent on 40 trips between March 1 and December 31, 2017.

IG says spending was "exaggerated" because it was incorrectly approved "without sufficient justification "or by someone who did not have the authority to approve it.

The EPA raised the question that the expenditure was "exaggerated" and rejected the inspector's general recommendation that the agency ask Pruitt and others to repay that amount.

Pruitt took the top EPA job in February 2017, and his early months in the office were marked by frequent taxpayer-funded trips to his native Oklahoma. That and other ethical scandals would lead him to resign in the summer of 201
His highest security officer led to an expansion of the office to protect the administrator, providing an unrivaled 24/7 coverage. His protection costs about twice as much as the year before, according to official information.
Pruitt has said security personnel determined their level of protection based on the threat to him and said in an interview from February 2018 that current times are a "very toxic environment politically".

"We live in a very toxic environment politically, especially on environmental issues," said Pruitt to the New Hampshire Union Leader in 2018. "We have reached the point where there is not much marketplace and it is created, you know, it has created some problems and (security) details, the level of protection is determined by the threat. "The report was released on Thursday saying that six of the 40 trips were canceled and of the 34 trips completed" 16 included trips to or had stopped in Tulsa, Oklahoma – the location of the former administrator's personal residence. "

Federal funding for six of these Oklahoma stops was motivated by meetings or public appearances, the report said. In 10 cases, the former administrator paid his own flight ticket to Tulsa for the weekend, read it.

Pruitt "often resigned on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday from Washington, D.C., to Tulsa and 19-P-0155 11 other places and returned to Washington on Monday or Tuesday the following week," it said.

Initially, Pruitt began flying in standard training class, but reported but moved mainly to premium seats in May 2017.

In addition, six canceled travel government cost $ 106,701, an amount that included "cancellation fees / show hotel fees and service fees."

The report concluded the EPA has improved some processes, such as ensuring that the officials who approve some expenses have the power to do so. But the EPA said it disagreed with 10 other recommendations, including one that would have Pruitt and others replace the government for the excessive costs.

The agency stated in a memo attached to the report that $ 61,971 was for Pruitt's premium travel, and that it considers "all other fees attributed to the previous administrator are valid".

In one case, it stated that the costs were due to the fact that Pruitt was received at work while on personal leave and that the federal regulations say it is appropriate for the government to cover these costs. In another instance, it said that security detail papers that motivated first-class travel were on file.

The agency also said that the inspector's general estimate of the cost of travel expenses was incorrect. The IG report said that the alternative documentation produced by the Agency was determined to be insufficient in several cases, so its original estimate "will remain unchanged".

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