Pruitt Fights for Job in Meeting With Trump

Michele Moreno
April 8, 2018

The White House is conducting a review of ethical questions surrounding Scott Pruitt, the head of Environmental Protection Agency.

Altogether, the agency spent millions of dollars for a 20-member full-time detail that is three times the size of his predecessor's part-time security contingent.

As Pruitt was bombarded this week by news reports about his personal and management decisions, groups such as FreedomWorks and the Federalist Society expressed their support.

Top Republican aides tell CNN that if Trump chose to fire Pruitt it would be extremely hard to confirm another conservative EPA administrator to continue carrying out the deregulation agenda he has set in motion during his tenure.

Trump tweeted Friday that Pruitt is doing "a great job", but he also has said he would look into a number of controversies that have plagued Pruitt.

Pruitt was provided security during family trips and sporting events. In an interview with Fox News, he described his living arrangement as an "Airbnb situation", and said EPA's ethics office had signed off on it.

Pruitt's security detail accrued enough overtime to reach their annual maximum salary of around $160,000.

Pruitt also is being scrutinized over his travel expenses and the large pay raises he reportedly gave to two EPA employees.

Even the EPA secretary has arrived under intense examination for ethics dilemmas along with outsized shelling out.

Questions about Pruitt's lease stem from a bedroom he rented in a Capitol Hill condo from health care lobbyist Vicki Hart under terms that allowed him to pay $50 a day - but only for the days it was occupied.

In recent weeks, multiple outlets including CNN have detailed such incidents as how Pruitt rented a room in a sweetheart deal from the wife of a lobbyist, directed his security detail to violate a policy on using emergency lights and sirens, and demoted top aides who warned him about potential ethics issues.

While Trump appears to support Pruitt, the president can be fickle.

Today, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) became the highest-ranking lawmaker to call for Pruitt to resign. His efforts to slash regulations have helped make Trump popular in coal, natural gas, and oil-producing states. The administrator has even advocated slashing his agency's budget by a third. Neither EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman nor Perrotta responded to calls Friday.

Pruitt says he is "dumbfounded" at the disclosure and controversy, which he says is of no outcome, and happened only because of the "toxic" atmosphere in Washington. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.

Weekly schedules revealed that over 36 people were assigned to Pruitt's security detail in a span of six weeks. Other EPA chiefs routinely flew coach despite similar encounters.

Pruitt has said his use of first-class airfare was initiated following unpleasant interactions with other travelers.

However, a nationwide search of state and federal court records by AP found no case where anyone has been arrested or charged with threatening Pruitt.

Then during a trip to Italy in June, Pruitt was accompanied by nine aides and a security detail that cost more than $120,000. He visited the U.S. Embassy in Rome and took a private tour of the Vatican before briefly attending a meeting of G-7 environmental ministers in Bologna.

We should have known that Pruitt is a climate change denier who has made it his mission to dump more carbon dioxide into the air, not less.

Wilcox also justified the purchase of a sound-proof phone booth which cost around $43,000, according to the Washington Post. But Pruitt got an ornate refurbished desk comparable in grandeur to the one in the Oval Office. The group also is recruiting conservative voices to join the cause, with a Twitter campaign urging supporters to call the White House switchboard with endorsements of the EPA chief.

Other reports by Insurance News

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