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EPA Watchdog Puts Price on Scott Pruitt's Travel

Suggests agency try to recover $124K over former chief's expenses
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2019 2:14 PM CDT
A 2018 photo of then EPA chief Scott Pruitt.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

(Newser) – Scott Pruitt resigned as EPA chief in July over allegations that included improper spending on travel. On Thursday, the agency's watchdog put a price tag on that: $124,000. The EPA's inspector general looked at 40 trips Pruitt took or scheduled in 2017 that cost a total of $985,037, reports NBC News. Of that total, the watchdog cannot find justification for $123,942—essentially the difference that resulted because Pruitt and a security agent flew first class or business class instead of coach, reports the Washington Post.

The watchdog report suggested the EPA look into recovering the excess money, presumably from Pruitt himself, but the agency already has rejected that idea, per the Washington Examiner. “EPA believes that the trips were authorized by an appropriate official, making cost recovery inappropriate,” the agency said. Pruitt previously justified the first-class travel on the grounds of security, saying that he'd had unpleasant encounters with passengers upset with administration policy. The report also cited pricey lodging costs, along with Pruitt's frequent trips to Tulsa, Okla., where he has a home, and warned that "actions are needed to strengthen controls over the EPA’s travel and prevent fraud, waste and abuse." (Read more Scott Pruitt stories.)

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