• Pruitt had an unusual arrangement
in which he rented a room in a Capitol Hill townhouse for $50 a night from the wife of a corporate lobbyist, but didn’t have to pay rent when he wasn’t in town. Despite initial denials that the husband lobbied the EPA, we learned later
that he had.
• In the apparent belief that environmentalist spies had broken into his office and installed listening devices (or something), Pruitt’s office has been swept for bugs
; the contractor hired to do the sweep is a buddy of Pruitt’s chief of security.
• That sweep was apparently insufficient, because Pruitt demanded
that a soundproof booth be installed in the office so he could make super-secret phone calls, at a cost of $43,000.
• Pruitt has insisted on traveling first class
, supposedly because of security concerns; he justified it by saying
that “We live in a very toxic environment politically.” After multiple news stories about his swanky seats, he announced that henceforth he’d fly coach.
• Pruitt has also spent
tens of thousands of dollars on charter and military flights, because sometimes he’s just got to get where he’s going.
• Pruitt’s aides explored
leasing a private jet for him to use in his travels, but nixed the plan when they could not justify the cost.
• Unlike previous EPA administrators, Pruitt demanded
a round-the-clock security detail including 18 agents and costing the taxpayers millions of dollars. He takes taxpayer-funded security on personal trips to places like Disneyland. This is nothing new for him; when he was attorney general of Oklahoma, he reassigned
investigative agents to serve as his driver and bodyguard.
• Pruitt asked for
large salary increases for two of his aides; when the White House refused, he found an obscure provision of the Safe Drinking Water Act that allowed him to give them the increases without permission.
• Pruitt sent an aide
to go house-hunting for him, an apparent violation of ethics rules.
• Pruitt asked
for a bulletproof car, and told his security detail to use their sirens and flashing lights to get him out of traffic on his way to dinner, in violation of ordinary protocols.
• Officials who have questioned some of Pruitt’s spending and other practices have been fired or demoted
• Pruitt created a task force to oversee the Superfund program and installed
to lead it a banker who had been banned from the banking industry and had no environmental experience, but had loaned Scott Pruitt over a million dollars.
• Pruitt directed
EPA staff to explore establishing an office in his home town of Tulsa that would include “a conference room, secure parking, would be able to accommodate 24/7 security, and included a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) for secure communications.” While SCIFs are commonly used in the White House, the CIA, or the Pentagon, you don’t find them in EPA offices.