Pruitt's security expenses questioned in internal EPA docs

UNITED STATES- AUGUST 4 Sen. Mike Rounds R-S.D. Co Chairman of the Former Governors Caucus is interviewed by Roll Call in the Capitol

In a letter sent to Pruitt Wednesday, House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy of SC said EPA had failed to hand over documents he requested in February, including copies of any waivers permitting the administrator to use premium class airfare.

Conservative groups also have weighed in on Pruitt's behalf, citing actions to roll back President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan, block new restrictions on a range of USA waterways and relax fuel-economy standards for cars and trucks. The vote comes amid calls by Democrats and a few Republicans for President Donald Trump to replace EPA chief Scott Pruitt, whose tenure has been threatened by damaging ethics disclosures. Ted Cruz said the EPA chief was being "bullied by the Obama groupies" in the news media and Congress.

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

More than 100 conservatives, including the heads of the American Legislative Exchange Council and Conservative Action Project, along with former attorney general Edwin Meese III and former GOP Sen.

"President Trump campaigned on reducing Washington's bureaucracy, and Administrator Pruitt has been instrumental to that effort", they wrote. "This is an internal personnel matter, and the agency does not comment on internal personnel matters", Donna Vizian, EPA's principal deputy assistant administrator, said in a statement. "And the leadership by example we're getting from Mr. Pruitt is among the worst I think I've ever seen".

Committee Chairman John Barrasso quickly rebuffed that request, saying no hearing on Pruitt's security procedures will be held. "You represent the president of the United States".

The acting director and general counsel of the Office of Government Ethics sent a letter to the EPA with his concerns about Pruitt. The property was co-owned by the wife of a prominent lobbyist who runs a firm with a roster of fossil fuels clients who have received favorable regulatory rulings from Pruitt's EPA.

The EPA has consistently said that Pruitt needed to fly first class as a security precaution given unprecedented threats, and the assessment that he could leave quickly if necessary.

"He's not a good administrator", said O'Grady.

But the EPA did not turn them over, and Gowdy's subsequent letter confirms that. She told CNN the "daily drip of accusations of excessive spending and ethical violations serve to further distract the agency from accomplishing its very important mission".

Agency officials in a February 14 "Preliminary Intelligence Enterprise Threat Assessment Review" memo used all caps and bold print in the conclusion that justification for Pruitt's detail "does not employ sound analysis or articulate relevant "threat specific" information appropriate to draw any resource or level of threat conclusions regarding the protection posture for the administrator", The Post reported.

The Environmental Protection Agency ousted a career staffer who signed off on a report that undermined Administrator Scott Pruitt's claims of a need for around-the-clock security detail, Politico reported Tuesday.

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