American Oversight Asks Office of Special Counsel to Investigate Whether EPA Administrator Pruitt Violated Federal Rules Against Taxpayer Funding of Personal and Political Travel
Washington, DC – Non-partisan ethics watchdog American Oversight today filed a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) requesting an investigation into a report that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has spent thousands of dollars of taxpayer money on frequent travel to his home state of Oklahoma – potentially for the purpose of laying the groundwork for a future political campaign.
“The Trump administration is seeking to cut EPA’s budget by 31%, putting Americans’ health and safety at risk. At the same time, Pruitt is spending scarce taxpayer dollars to fuel his personal ambition for higher office,” said American Oversight Executive Director Austin Evers. “This is another case of the Trump administration’s motto of ‘do as I say, not as I do.”
According to documents uncovered by the Environmental Integrity Project, Administrator Pruitt spent 43 out of his first 92 days in office either in Oklahoma, or travelling to and from the state at an estimated cost of at least $12,000 – not including expenses for Pruitt’s aides or his unusually large security detail.
The travel also coincided with political events, including a meeting of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council. In 2015, the EPA’s Inspector General criticized a former EPA regional administrator for scheduling 50 out of 88 trips over a 27-month period to locations near his Orange County, California residence.
Evers continued, “How is it that 90% of Pruitt’s taxpayer funded travel has been to his home state? The EPA’s jurisdiction extends to the entire nation, not just Oklahoma, and its assertion that all this travel was related to agency business is ludicrous.”
The Office of Special Counsel is an independent agency tasked with investigating and prosecuting a range of violations of federal workplace policies – including enforcing the Hatch Act and preventing the use of taxpayer money for political activities.
Read American Oversight’s letter to OSC below:
Part of Investigation: