Statement on EPA IG Investigation of Pruitt Travel

Washington, DC – The Inspector General’s Office of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that it was beginning a preliminary investigation into Administrator Scott Pruitt’s frequent travel to Oklahoma at taxpayers’ expense.

Non-partisan ethics watchdog American Oversight had previously submitted a complaint to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) on July 27th calling for an investigation into whether these trips were made to advance Pruitt’s political career or constituted an abuse of federal resources for personal travel.

“The EPA’s jurisdiction covers the entire country, yet EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has visited few places besides his home state of Oklahoma. It can’t be a coincidence that Mr. Pruitt is also rumored to have greater political ambitions. While Pruitt has every right to return to Oklahoma, he can’t expect American taxpayers to foot the bill for politically motivated or personal travel,” said American Oversight Senior Advisor Melanie Sloan. “At a time in which Administrator Pruitt is slashing EPA offices dedicated to water and air safety, it’s heartening that the Inspector General is taking steps to protect taxpayer money and curb Pruitt’s spendthrift travel.”

According to documents received under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by the Environmental Integrity Project, Administrator Pruitt spent 43 out of his first 92 days in office either in Oklahoma or traveling to and from the state. An analysis by the group found that this travel cost 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.

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