Watchdog: EPA chief’s trip to Italy cost taxpayers $120,000
By Susan McFarland March 21, 2018
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is being scrutinized for the amount of money it took to send him to Italy last year. Documents show the costs amount to $120,000. File Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI
March 21 (UPI) — A trip to Italy last year for Environmental Protective Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt cost U.S. taxpayers $120,000, a watchdog said Wednesday.
Costs for Pruitt’s security detail added more than $30,000 to the bill than previously revealed, according to the Environmental Integrity Project, a non-partisan and non-profit watchdog group.
The trip, taken last June, is also under review by the agency’s inspector general.
Previously released travel documents showed the EPA spent close to $90,000 to send Pruitt and his staff to Italy for one day for the G7 environmental summit. Included in that amount was a $36,000 military flight so Pruitt could join President Donald Trump at a Cincinnati event, and then make it to New York in time for his flight to Rome.
A statement by EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said the agency did not deviate from standard protocol when approving that security detail, and followed the same procedures it’s has used for nearly 15 years.
“Administrator Pruitt’s security detail followed the same procedures for the G7 environmental meeting in Italy that were used during EPA Administrators Stephen Johnson, Lisa Jackson and Gina McCarthy’s trips to Italy,” Wilcox said.
Eric Schaeffer, director of the watchdog and former director of the EPA’s Office of Enforcement, is still critical of the amount spent.
“That’s a lot of money for Mr. Pruitt to tour the Vatican, pose for photos, and tell his European counterparts that global warming doesn’t matter,” he said. “And it doesn’t even include salary costs for everyone who signed up for this tour.”
Pruitt has also faced criticism for flying luxury class during official trips. According to records the EPA provided to the House Oversight Committee, Pruitt spent more than $105,000 in taxpayer funds on first-class flights since becoming President Donald Trump’s EPA chief in February 2017.
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