World News

The fantastic Scott Pruitt

The fantastic Scott Pruitt

Environmental Protection Agency Chief of Staff Ryan Jackson is taking the fall for the controversial, hefty raises given to two of Scott Pruitt's closest aides who joined the EPA after working with Administrator Pruitt in Oklahoma.

He added that Pruitt's security spending "somewhat more" than prior EPA chiefs, but said Pruitt had received death threats "because of his bold actions at EPA".

The letter, sent to Kevin Minoli, the E.P.A. official designated as the agency's top ethics official, addresses questions about Mr. Pruitt's rental for $50 a night of a condominium linked to an energy lobbyist, as well as his government-funded flights to his home state of Oklahoma.

Most recently, Pruitt's decision to rent a room from the wife of a powerful lobbyist at well below market price has come under scrutiny. Susan Collins of ME, who told CNN she thinks that "Scott Pruitt is the wrong person to lead the EPA".

Pruitt has cited the statements from EPA ethics officers in response to questions in regards to the association.

A new report indicates that Pruitt has a enormous detail consisting of 19 agents and a fleet of at least 19 vehicles.

EPA's inspector general is now auditing Pruitt's security spending - one of at least five ongoing probes by the agency's watchdog into spending and ethics issues surrounding the administrator.

Pruitt also has defended his use of first-class airfare, saying it was initiated following unpleasant interactions with other travelers, including one who yelled a profanity as he walked through the airport.

Pruitt told Fox News last week that he was not involved in the process and he'd just found out about it when The Atlantic reported about the raises.

It's a similar line of reasoning that Pruitt himself took up in January, when he cheered his agency's deregulatory actions, claiming that they had saved the American public $300 million in regulatory costs.

Chmielewski, who is on administrative leave without pay, is one of several EPA officials who departed or were reassigned after raising concerns about how Pruitt and his deputies operated. The Associated Press reported Friday the price tag for Pruitt's personal detail had cost the agency almost $3 million in pay and travel expenses. His stature among deep red members of the Republican Party and skills as an environmental lawyer also mean that it would be very hard to push a replacement of equal talent through the Senate in the next six months. In a later tweet, addressing possible criticism of his methods, Leopold clarified that those FOIA requests were lodged with both the EPA's headquarters and Inspector General's office.

Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., co-chairman of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, has urged Trump to fire Pruitt.

Pruitt is already under investigation by the EPA's Office of Inspector General for his spending and use of private jets and luxury hotels and other ethical allegations.

As Pruitt faces a growing number of calls to resign over the growing scandals, it's not surprising that his allies would turn to regulatory costs as a reason for Pruitt to stay.


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