Democrats say no threats to Pruitt, urge oversight hearing on EPA spending

Screen shot  Fox News

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate Environment Committee, said Monday that Pruitt has accomplished key priorities as EPA head, mainly in reversing "punishing regulations" imposed under Obama.

CNN first reported that the waivers, which are required each time the EPA administrator flies in a cabin other than coach, were not included in the records turned over at the request of Gowdy, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee.

President Donald Trump defended Pruitt in a tweet Saturday night, downplaying the ethical questions swirling around his embattled EPA chief.

The Carper-Whitehouse letter cites a memo from William Stull, special agent on Pruitt's private security detail, to Nino Perrotta, the detail's special agent in charge, which summarizes available threat information and shows 16 threats directed against Pruitt.

The Associated Press reported Friday that the 20-member team tasked with providing day-and-night protection for Pruitt had racked up salary, overtime and travel expenses approaching $3 million.

EPA's inspector general is now auditing Pruitt's security spending — one of at least five ongoing probes by the agency's watchdog into spending and ethics issues surrounding the administrator. "Scott Pruitt has faced an unprecedented amount of death threats against him", spokesman Jahan Wilcox said in a statement, noting that threat assessments are conducted by the EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, using information provided by Pruitt's personal security detail, EPA's Office of Homeland Security and its inspector general.

The internal review said an earlier threat assessment by Pruitt's security team "does not employ sound analysis or articulate relevant "threat specific" information appropriate to draw any resource or level of threat conclusions regarding the protection posture for the administrator". The property was co-owned by the wife of a prominent lobbyist who runs a firm with a roster of fossil fuels clients who have received favorable regulatory rulings from Pruitt's EPA.

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The American Federation of Government Employees, a labor union representing about 8,000 EPA employees, has also called for Pruitt to resign or be fired.

As Pruitt struggled to keep his job, another battle was brewing in the Senate, where Schumer vowed to oppose Trump's nomination of former coal industry lobbyist Andrew Wheeler as the EPA's No. 2 official.

The EPA could not be immediately reached for comment on the senator's letter. Pruitt's premium status gave him and his security chief access to VIP airport lounges.

A nationwide search of state and federal court records by AP found no case where anyone has been arrested or charged with making violent threats against Pruitt.

Gowdy, who had led a high-profile investigation into a 2012 attack on a diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, during former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's tenure, requested documents on Pruitt's travel on February 20.

"These coins represent the agency", Ronald Slotkin, a now retired EPA employee who was the director of its multimedia office, told the newspaper.

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