ICYMI: Pruitt Wastes Tens of Thousands of Taxpayer Dollars
February 12, 2018
Scott Pruitt continued the Trump administration trend of wasting taxpayers’ money, charging tens of thousands of dollars for first-class flights over just one stretch in early June.
Washington Post: First-class travel distinguishes Scott Pruitt’s EPA tenure
By Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis
Just days after helping orchestrate the United States’ exit from a global climate accord last June, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt embarked on a whirlwind tour aimed at championing President Trump’s agenda at home and abroad.
On Monday, June 5, accompanied by his personal security detail, Pruitt settled into his $1,641.43 first-class seat for a short flight from the District to New York City. His ticket cost more than six times that of the two media aides who came along and sat in coach, according to agency travel vouchers; the records do not show whether his security detail accompanied him at the front of the plane.
In Manhattan, Pruitt made two brief television appearances praising the White House’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate agreement, stayed with staff at an upscale hotel near Times Square and returned to Washington the next day.
That Wednesday, after traveling with Trump on Air Force One for an infrastructure event in Cincinnati, Pruitt and several staffers raced to New York on a military jet, at a cost of $36,068.50, to catch a plane to Rome.
The transatlantic flight was part of a round-trip ticket for the administrator that cost $7,003.52, according to EPA records — several times what was paid for other officials who went. The documents do not explain the discrepancy. In Rome, Pruitt and a coterie of aides and security personnel got private tours of the Vatican and met with papal officials, business executives and legal experts before heading briefly to a meeting of environmental ministers in Bologna. Pruitt departed the Group of Seven summit a day early, before negotiations had concluded, to attend a Cabinet meeting at which Trump’s deputies lauded the president’s job performance.
In total, the taxpayer-funded travel for Pruitt and his top aides during that stretch in early June cost at least $90,000, according to months of receipts obtained by the Environmental Integrity Project under the Freedom of Information Act. That figure does not account for the costs of Pruitt’s round-the-clock security detail, which have not been disclosed.