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EPA Watchdog Blasts Former Agency Chief Scott Pruitt Over Spending on Security

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BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / Getty Images

Tuesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) inspector general released a scathing account of the abuses of taxpayer money by former agency head Scott Pruitt, who resigned in disgrace after a scandal-ridden 18-month tenure. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) President Ken Cook said the appalling details confirm that Pruitt will be remembered as the worst EPA administrator in history.


"Scott Pruitt's been gone more than two months, but the swampy stench he brought to EPA continues to waft from agency headquarters," said Cook in response to the IG report. "From the moment President Trump nominated him, it was evident that Pruitt not only held the EPA's mission in contempt, but saw his post as a chance to pamper himself on the American taxpayer's dime."

"Only someone as ethically and morally vacant as Donald Trump could have picked someone like Scott Pruitt as the head of EPA," Cook added. "It is shameful that Pruitt got away with this kind of abuse of taxpayer money for as long as he did, but the inspector general's report may serve as a lesson to President Trump that no matter how brazen the corruption of his administration, the truth will come out."

In his report, Inspector Arthur A. Elkins, Jr., details Pruitt's flagrant waste of taxpayer money on the use of his 24-hour security detail, including during during family vacations and personal errands.

Specifically, the IG investigation found that the "failure to properly justify the level of protective services provided to the Administrator has allowed costs to increase from $1.6 million to $3.5 million in just 11 months." The report concluded that since EPA never conducted a threat assessment, Pruitt and agency officials assigned his large security team "without documented justification."

"What a joy ride Pruitt took courtesy of taxpayers, sirens and all," said Cook.

During Pruitt's tenure, he was instrumental in getting Trump to pull out of the Paris climate accord, and in scuttling the Clean Power Plan and Clean Water rule to help reduce air and water contamination. At the same time, Pruitt's ethical scandals mounted day by day, finally forcing Trump to show him the door.

Among Pruitt's most egregious abuses of office included his sweetheart $50-a-night condo rental from the wife of an energy lobbyist, retaliating against staff who questioned his spending and using his security detail to take him on late-night shopping jaunts around Washington in search of his favorite lotion.

"Maybe we know why Pruitt dispatched his security team to the Ritz-Carlton to buy his favorite skin lotion," observed Cook. "When Trump said help yourself to emoluments, Pruitt thought he said emollients."

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