From TALKING POINTS MEMO:
The Environmental Protection Agency is spending $24,570 to build a “privacy booth” for the agency’s chief, Scott Pruitt, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.
Original poster (titled It’s for You)
The EPA, according to the Washington Post, requested a soundproof booth that cost considerably more than a standard model.
An EPA spokeswoman told the Washington Post that the booth would be a SCIF, or Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, and said it was “something which a number, if not all, Cabinet offices have and EPA needs to have updated.”
The Washington Post reported, however, citing unnamed EPA employees, that the agency already has such a facility, but that the agency did not specify what about it was due for an update.
Pruitt reportedly already has a round-the-clock security detail of unprecedented size, according to the Washington Post, which reported on Wednesday that Pruitt has 18 people on his security detail, though he has pushed for a 31 percent funding cut across the EPA.
And then there’s this, from CBS NEWS:
In July, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt flew on a private plane for official travel in his home state of Oklahoma – leaving taxpayers on the hook for more than $14,000.
In total, he spent 83 minutes in the air. The cost was $14,285.71, according to the purchase order obtained by CBS News.
An EPA spokesman told CBS News that technically, the EPA did not charter this flight, but instead asked the Department of Interior to book it for the EPA, making use of an inter-agency program.
Asked why Pruitt needed to fly on a private plane, the spokesperson said that it was a five-hour drive to Guymon and there were no commercially available flights.
CBS News reported Tuesday that Pruitt has taken two other trips on non-commercial flights. In June, he flew from Cincinnati to New York and then to Andrews Air Force Base on an Air Force jet to catch a flight to an international conference of energy ministers. The price tag: $36,069.50. In August, he flew between Denver and Durango, Colorado, for an event, at a cost of $5,719.58.
In total, he has spent $58,219.19 on non-commercial travel, according to information the EPA provided to Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who requested the details in a letter dated August 10.
In addition to those flights, Pruitt also flew on North Dakota’s state aircraft on August 9 to participate in a roundtable at the University of North Dakota’s Environmental Research Center. The cost to taxpayers was $2,144.40, according to an EPA spokesperson, who said the governor’s office offered use of the plane and arranged the flight.
The pricey travel of President Trump’s Cabinet is now drawing the attention of Republicans and Democrats on the House Oversight Committee. On Wednesday, they sent letters to agencies and the White House asking for details about Cabinet officials’ use of non-commercial flights, writing that they have until October 10 to respond.