- Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt’s security detail and travel arrangements cost around $US3 million, according to sources cited by the Associated Press on Friday.
- Unlike the former EPA chief, Pruitt’s security team has provided around-the-clock protection, even during family trips and sporting events.
- Pruitt was granted several security upgrades, including a soundproof phone booth at his office, biometric locks for his doors, and a contractor to sweep for hidden listening devices.
The Environmental Protection Agency reportedly incurred $US3 million in taxpayer-funded expenses for administrator Scott Pruitt’s security detail and travel arrangements, according to newsreports published on Friday.
Pruitt’s security detail reportedly comprised of 20 full-time members – three times the size of former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy’s part-time security staff.
Eric Weese, the former head of Pruitt’s protective detail, voiced concern over Pruitt’s expenses, which included taxpayer-funded first-class flights for short trips from Washington, DC, to New York City, according to The New York Times. Weese was eventually replaced with Pasquale Perrotta, a former Secret Service agent who operates a private security company.
Once Perrotta joined the EPA, he reportedly made sweeping changes to Pruitt’s security apparatus. Here are some of the services that were provided to Pruitt, according to Freedom of Information Act requests and an EPA official cited by the Associated Press:
- Pruitt’s security detail accrued enough overtime to reach their annual maximum salary of around $US160,000.
- During his first three months as EPA chief, Pruitt’s security detail cost over $US832,000.
- Weekly schedules revealed that over 36 people were assigned to Pruitt’s security detail in a span of six weeks.
- Pruitt was provided security during family trips and sporting events. Former EPA administrator McCarthy had roughly a half-dozen people on her security staff, and was not provided protection during off-hours.
- During a trip to Italy, Perrotta hired private Italian security guards that arranged a motorcade for Pruitt. Members of the Italian security detail were reportedly personal friends of Perrotta and accompanied Pruitt to a posh restaurant for hours.
- The agency spent around $US9,000 in 2017 for increased security measures, such as biometric locks for his doors, and for hiring a private contractor to sweep Pruitt’s office for hidden listening devices.
- $US43,000 was spent to install a soundproof phone booth at Pruitt’s office.
- A request for a $US100,000-per-month private jet membership, a bulletproof vehicle, and $US70,000 for furniture that included a bulletproof desk for an armed security guard was made. The requests were denied.
The news coverage surrounding Pruitt, who is also under the spotlight for a low-priced lease agreement facilitated by the wife of an energy lobbyist, did not go unnoticed by the White House, which has bristled recently over the mounting scandals embroiling several of President Donald Trump’s cabinet secretaries.
However, Trump has expressed confidence in Pruitt and was resistant in ousting him, according to a New York Times report published Friday.
“The president feels that the administrator has done a good job at EPA,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.