Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt - a climate change denier who is pushing for sweeping budget cuts at the agency - apparently has no qualms about loosely spending some of that budget on himself.
CBS News reported Wednesday that Pruitt and other EPA staff took a private flight July 27 from Tulsa to Guymon, Oklahoma, where Pruitt spoke to farmers about his plans to nix the Obama administration's Waters of the United States rule.
"After our commercial flight was significantly delayed (over 5 hours), it would have been impossible to make it to the important Gold King Mine visit with a bipartisan group of elected officials waiting for (Pruitt)", the EPA said in its statement.
EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman told HuffPost that Pruitt has taken one charter flight and three government flights; however, she did not respond to questions about what those flights' costs were and why they were required. A few days later, Pruitt spent about $2,000 to fly on a North Dakota state plane to attend an event at the University of North Dakota's Environmental Research Center, per CBS News. The price tag: $36,069.50. Why might Pruitt, who once advocated for "dismantling the EPA's activist agenda" as Oklahoma attorney general, need a soundproof office? Hm. An EPA spokeswoman says he's flown coach on multiple occasions.
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CBS first reported the flights. It calls for the construction of a $24,570 "privacy booth" for Pruitt's office.
The EPA also came under fire this week after it was reported that the agency is spending almost $25,000 on a soundproof "privacy booth" in Pruitt's office. It's unclear why he needs the custom "privacy booth", since the EPA has what's known as a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, where officials can view classified information, on another floor in the building.
The audit was "initiated based on congressional requests and a hotline complaint, all of which expressed concerns about Administrator Pruitt's travel-primarily his frequent travel to and from his home state of Oklahoma at taxpayer expense".
The revelation that Pruitt used government and private planes for official government travel comes as other Trump administration officials, including Health and Human Services Secretary Tom PriceThomas (Tom) Edmunds PriceWork requirements exactly what OH needs to roll back the ObamaCare disaster Price says working toward declaring opioid crisis national emergency Declare a true state of emergency MORE and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, face scrutiny for flights using military or private aircraft.