Embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt requested and immediately received 24-7 security once he took on his government role in February of last year, according to Inspector General Arthur Elkins, The Washington Post reports.
Pruitt's security detail of 20 full-time employees is three times the size of his predecessor's part-time security contingent, and has so far cost taxpayers millions of dollars. The EPA chief originally claimed the need for such a large security detail was due to safety concerns, and Elkin said the decision was made before Pruitt arrived.
"The decision was made by the Office of Criminal Enforcement, Forensics, and Training after being informed that Mr. Pruitt requested 24/7 protection once he was confirmed as administrator," Elkins wrote in response to inquiries from Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Thomas Carper, D-Del., about what threats prompted the security.
EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said in a statement to the Post that "as the report says, EPA's Office of Inspector General does not determine security assessments. EPA's Protective Service Detail handles security decisions and this particular decision was made before Administrator Pruitt arrived at EPA."
Pruitt has been fending off allegations of profligate spending and ethical missteps that jeopardize his job, including concerns he gave massive raises to two of closest aides and his rental of a Capitol Hill condo tied to a lobbyist who represents fossil fuel clients. Pruitt is also under fire for frequent first-class air travel and for purchasing costly items for his office, including a soundproof telephone booth.
A U.S. congressional panel is investigating Pruitt over the use of the condo, and White House officials are reviewing his ethical conduct. The EPA inspector general is also conducting a probe.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.