May 25, 2018, 6:26 PM ET

EPA has spent more than $3.5 million on Pruitt's security in first year in office

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The Environmental Protection Agency confirmed Friday that it has spent more than $3.5 million on Administrator Scott Pruitt's security team since taking office, significantly more than his two predecessors.

As more ethical questions prompted investigations into the cost of Pruitt's security detail and travel, members of Congress have questioned whether the increased spending was justified.

The agency says that Pruitt needed 24/7 security – more than previous administrators – in response to an "unprecedented number of threats" against him. Because of the threats, the EPA says, Pruit and his security team needed to fly first class and the total includes those costs.

Documents released by the EPA show that the agency spent more than $2.7 million on payroll for the administrator's security detail between April 2017 and March 2018 and nearly $760,000 on travel for his detail during the same 12 months.

Pruitt was sworn in in mid-February 2017. The agency spent almost $500,000 in that January - March fiscal quarter but it's not clear how much of that was after Pruitt was confirmed.

The documents show that agency spent significantly less on the security detail for the two previous EPA administrators under the Obama administration, Lisa Jackson and Gina McCarthy. Payroll and travel for Jackson's detail cost about $1.9 million for her first year in office in 2009 and 2010. McCarthy's detail cost almost $2 million for her first year starting in July 2013.

PHOTO: File photo Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy speaking at a Newsmakers luncheon at the National Press Club, Nov. 21, 2016, in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
File photo Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy speaking at a Newsmakers luncheon at the National Press Club, Nov. 21, 2016, in Washington, DC.

An EPA spokesman said the agency plans to proactively release security costs multiple times a year to be more transparent. The documents released this week are posted on a page of the EPA's website for materials frequently requested through the Freedom of Information Act.

“Administrator Pruitt has faced an unprecedented amount of death threats against him and to provide transparency EPA will post the costs of his security detail and pro-actively release these numbers on a quarterly basis. Americans should all agree that members of the President’s cabinet should be kept safe from violent threats," EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said in a statement.

Pruitt said he would tell his staff to switch him to more flights in coach earlier this year but the former head of his security detail has defended the decision to increase security. Investigations into threats against Pruitt that have been publicly released found no imminent threat to his safety, despite language like calling Pruitt "evil" or a message saying that they hope a family member would die.

At least two investigations into reported threats against Pruitt are still ongoing.

The agency released documents with the cost of both salary and travel for the administrator's protective detail on its website, with the total cost for each fiscal quarter going back to the 2009 fiscal year.

Despite the criticism over the cost of his security detail President Donald Trump has defended Pruitt, saying that Pruitt received death threats.

Documents released by the EPA inspector general, however, have questioned whether the threats were credible and properly vetted to justify upping Pruitt's security to 24/7. The inspector general also found that the agency decided to increase Pruitt's security before he took office, saying that one office was told "Pruitt requested 24/7 protection once he was confirmed as administrator."

The EPA's inspector general is currently looking into the cost of Pruitt's security detail.

News - EPA has spent more than $3.5 million on Pruitt's security in first year in office

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  • Thomas

    With his new Cone of Silence in his office, why does Pruitt need to make so many trips?

  • quasi_anyon

    Pitiful Pruitt has done nothing but become a huge taxpayer sinkhole. There are no death threats, as the guy is from Oklahoma and wants to make himself appear important. Just another great, really great miserable failure. Little Donny John and Pagan Pence, the very worst of humanity.

  • gypsy

    A corrupt P O S. Drain the swamp? Even the most die hard trumpsters should be calling foul.

  • William H Bockemuehl

    If the security check at the airport works, there is no reason for him to switch from coach to 1st class. If the security doesn't work, we could do away with that instead.

  • Norm Stansfield

    Last year, Republican Steve Scalise was shot by a left wing extremist at baseball practice. This year, the leftist media is campaigning to leave another prominent Republican unprotected in the face of threats by the same brand of extremists.

    Tells you all you need to know about what they stand for.

  • MAGreenA

    What a better way to run the EPA into a ditch? Spend flagrantly, side with big oil and polluters on every decision. If Trump cared about the American people and his grandchildren he would care about clean water, air, and the environment he will leave them. The only thing Trump, Pruitt, and Zinke care about is tearing down Obama's legacy, padding the 1%, their families and friends bank accounts. He could give a crap about the middle class and will do everything to bankrupt it before he is kicked out of office.

  • Lee Thompson

    Good Lord these deplorables are expensive!

  • oakgrovehobbitt

    I am sure the worse comments here are quite tame compared to what the left fringe is trying to do to him. Such hatred, and all for manufactured reasons.

  • ExtraStealth

    “I have the best traitors (Flynn, Manafort, etc.) , crooks (his entire family, Cabinet, Cohen, Pruitt), liars (Sanders, Spicer, Pence, Pruitt, Conway) sociopaths (Bolton, too many to name), gutless wonders (Kelly,
    Nielsen), loudmouths (Scaramucci, Sadler, Sanders, Giuliani), drunks (Bannon and Jackson, so far), drug addicts (Kudlow had a $100,000/month cocaine habit, Jackson wrote his own prescriptions and gave drugs away) and domestic abusers (Rob Porter)…I mean, people.”

    None is so blind as those who refuse to see.

  • Keith Bryan

    Apparently none of the threats were viable as this fool is still among the living!

  • ProCannonFodder

    Pruitt doesn't subscribe to the rabid climate religion, of course its going to cost more to keep him safe from liberals.

  • ProCannonFodder

    So what? look at the toxic enviro-lefties. I'm surprised it doesn't cost more.

  • jerryk2

    Does the cost include the cost of replacing and expanding doorways so that Pruitt can get his head through the opening?

  • Sterling Mossed

    I have seen numerous death threats....For gods sake Michael Moore On was trying his best to whip up hysteria, along with all the LEFT WINGNUTS....Ruffalo.....that actress that thinks she is famous....can't remember her name....was saying Trump set her hills on fire.....NUTZ and MORE NUTZ!!

  • yobubba

    "EPA has spent more than $3.5 million on Pruitt's security"

    He also must be playing golf every weekend!

  • Elaine Hernandez

    It's called the total fleecing of America. The sad part is after we see all the rip off, graft and conspiracies against our government, they'll spin it as the new president's fault, and parrot cuts, cuts, cuts. Sick of the cycle.

  • FfloydZzepp

    Big Nanny Governnent Spend Monkey TRINOs.

  • Joshua

    Probably the finest EPA admistrator we have had. Keep up the great work!

  • Lumeni vital

    Simple solution:
    Well, now, that Pruitt had completed his so called “bold actions” to ruin the enviroment, let’s Retire him and find a less threatened less expensive person to serve.

  • dustyrivers ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    So much for "draining the swamp" !!

  • Bill S

    Bold decisions Purit is milking the tax payers just like it every body in this administration. personally I can't see why he needs any security.

  • Matt

    republicans like ex-congressman eric cantor used to stop all spending and was part of the fiscal cliff and the sequester they imposed on the Obama Administration. Now, with $Trillions of Dollars added (again) to our debt, where have all the Conservatives gone???

  • No one you know

    OMG, we have to protect this man at all costs! I mean, if something were to happen to Pruitt, whatever would we do? Corporations would have to be enviornmentally responsible, and we would have to drink clean water and breathe clean air. It would be the end of Trumpism as we know it!

  • j penske

    The amount spent on Pruitt is pocket change when compared the cost at Mar A Lago.

  • askew

    Meh. That's barely what an afternoon at mar-a-lardo costs...

  • concernedvoter

    New EPA directive under Trump, "Who needs Clean air and Clean Water??" everyone knows hotels have filtration systems..

  • WM Guidry

    He is there to get rid of all the safeguards for the environment that have proven extremely inconvenient for all the wealthy corporations. They believe they have the right to pollute without impediment. How bothersome all these environmentalists with their evidence have been. It is a toss up between whether Pruitt is oblivious as to how obvious his actions are as opposed to whether he thinks he is untouchable and does not care that his motives are so transparent. It is likely a sad blend of both.

  • Red Hawk

    Scott Pruitt has received death threats because of his bold actions at EPA== Proof?

  • SarcasTex

    He should hope his body guards do a better job protecting him than what he's doing protecting the environment.

  • concernedvoter

    GOP Political Greed and Gluttony at its finest.. Yeah they're draining the swamp alright.. LOL

  • Stephen Bishop

    Welcome to the grifter club.

  • Indie6050

    I thought the president said " said he would hire the best people" so far just looking at some of the ones he has now, left the administration, turmoil at the WH, he sure is not doing a good job of "hiring the best people"

  • AlexaGuyer

    I would like to ask Trump how exactly did Pruitt save us billions of dollars?

  • AlexaGuyer

    I would like to see the documentation of these so-called threats. They don't exist, he just took the opportunity to live high on the hog at the taxpayers' expense. Most people don't even know what he looks like.

  • Quiet participant

    Show me a hotel in a safe neighborhood in D.C. for $50 night. No, can't do? Just what I thought. Market rates, I don't think so.

  • bustertherocketcat

    Seriously? Someone calling him evil is the example they gave of a "death threat"?

  • Center_Line

    $3.5 million.
    Chump change.Trump spends that in a week-end playing golf.
    This admin. is sure free with our money.

  • Stephen Bishop

    And what have we gotten for our money?

  • doubledouble

    No, no, no Scotty, it’s the ENVIRONMENT protection agency, not the SCOTTY protection agency.

  • Dicazi

    Just saw where 37% of people think the Trump administration rates "good" in ethics.
    "There's a sucker born every minute" never was so apropo.