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Files undercut Pruitt's need for 1st-class travel

Files undercut Pruitt's need for 1st-class travel

The Environmental Protection Agency pointed to social media posts that were critical of Administrator Scott Pruitt to help justify his massive security expenses, The New York Times reported Tuesday. 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".

Tom Carper of DE and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, said in a letter Tuesday to Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) that they were provided with an internal EPA document that said a threat assessment did not justify such expenses.

Gowdy, in his February 20 letter, criticized the EPA, reiterated that "clearly federal regulations prohibit a blanket waiver" for security purposes, and requested that the EPA turn over all the individual waivers Pruitt would need to be able to fly in first class. Senate Democrats sought to undercut that argument Tuesday, citing a recent internal EPA analysis that concluded "EPA Intelligence has not identified any specific, credible, direct threat to the EPA administrator".

Pruitt has been under fire by Democrats and some Republicans for frequent first-class air travel, including a trip to Italy that cost $43,000, not including security detail.

The American Federation of Government Employees, a labour union representing about 8,000 EPA employees, has also called for Pruitt to resign or be fired.

President Donald Trump has supported Pruitt, but said he would take a look into the allegations.

"I am deeply troubled that members of the committee would publicly release law enforcement sensitive information regarding the safety and security of a cabinet member and his family", Barrasso said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Republican-led House Oversight committee has expanded its ongoing review of Pruitt's travel spending to include ethical questions surrounding his bargain condo rental.

The lawmakers in their letter asserted that the documents in their hands fall far short of supporting claims by Pruitt's office that he needed elaborate security measure to protect him from death threats.

Kevin Chmielewski was deputy chief of staff for operations at EPA until he was placed on unpaid administrative leave.

EPA's Intelligence Team asked the United States Secret Service to provide a "Direction of Interest Query" in February 2017 and again this February on potential threats against Pruitt, the senators write, and neither query returned any "reports of behaviors of interest directed toward EPA Administrator Pruitt". Leopold told AP this week that an EPA official who responded to his request told him verbally that after checks with the agency's general counsel and inspector general's office that no such records existed.

Administrator Pruitt is facing three separate investigations.


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