EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox has cited "unprecedented" threats against Pruitt and his family as justification for extraordinary security expenses such as first-class airfare to keep him separate from most passengers - a perk generally not available to federal employees. Pruitt's $50-a-night housing a block away from the Capitol building, owned by a Washington lobbyist, was, according to Trump,"about market rate". Furthermore, when traveling, Pruitt has infamously sought first class airline tickets in order to avoid the supposed security concerns of flying coach, but only when taxpayers were footing the bill: the AP has learned that Pruitt flew coach on personal trips he had to pay for the tickets himself.
The letter says an October 17, 2017, threat assessment states that "at the time there were "no known investigations underway concerning threats to Scott Pruitt" by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and that an open-source review of social media uncovered 'no evidence of a direct threat to the Administrator's life or physical well-being'".
Mr. Pruitt had complained that his 19 full time body guards and 19 armored vehicles dedicated exclusively to protect him in his risky job were inadequate and insufficient for the threat vectors in the Oklahoma-Washington DC environment.
The Democrats also obtained a February 14 assessment from EPA's Office of Homeland Security Intelligence that concluded "EPA Intelligence has not identified any specific, credible, direct threat to the EPA administrator".
Pruitt has faced cross-party calls to resign and is also facing an inquiry by a congressional oversight panel for links to an energy lobbyist.More news: Panthers 2018 preseason schedule released by NFL
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But details about any threats to Pruitt are sparse.
Pruitt's chief of staff has said that the responsibility for the raises falls exclusively on himself and the EPA's human resources department, distancing Pruitt from the decision entirely, according to Politico.
Pruitt also has defended his use of first-class airfare, saying it was initiated following unpleasant interactions with other travelers, including one who yelled a profanity as he walked through the airport.
Writing to Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), fellow panel members Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) reference several internal EPA documents - which they kept confidential "in an abundance of caution to protect any specific ongoing security efforts" - that allude to the kind of threats that have not traditionally triggered 24/7 protection.
The EPA's inspector general and the Government Accountability Office are investigating Pruitt's actions. His stature among deep red members of the Republican Party and skills as an environmental lawyer also mean that it would be very hard to push a replacement of equal talent through the Senate in the next six months. Fox instance, she mentioned she was not instructed that Pruitt's daughter, McKenna, lived in a second bed room within the apartment whereas she was in Washington for a White Home internship.
'This daily drop of accusations of excessive spending and ethical violations serve to further distract the agency from accomplishing its very important mission, ' Collins said on CNN's State of the Union Sunday. The EPA official said there are legitimate concerns about Pruitt's safety, given public opposition to his rollbacks of anti-pollution measures.