Nothing but the best

Scott Pruitt, destroyer of the EPA, is not stinting himself on luxury accommodations on the taxpayer’s dime.

Just days after helping orchestrate the United States’ exit from a global climate accord last June, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt embarked on a whirlwind tour aimed at championing President Trump’s agenda at home and abroad.

On Monday, June 5, accompanied by his personal security detail, Pruitt settled into his $1,641.43 first-class seat for a short flight from the District to New York City. His ticket cost more than six times that of the two media aides who came along and sat in coach, according to agency travel vouchers; the records do not show whether his security detail accompanied him at the front of the plane.

They all could have just taken the damn train for a fraction of the cost.

He did two tv gigs hooraying Trump’s trashing of the Paris climate agreement and then stayed in a nice posh pricey hotel before zipping back to DC the next day.

That Wednesday, after traveling with Trump on Air Force One for an infrastructure event in Cincinnati, Pruitt and several staffers raced to New York on a military jet, at a cost of $36,068.50, to catch a plane to Rome.

The transatlantic flight was part of a round-trip ticket for the administrator that cost $7,003.52, according to EPA records— several times what was paid for other officials who went. The documents do not explain the discrepancy. In Rome, Pruitt and a coterie of aides and security personnel got private tours of the Vatican and met with papal officials, business executives and legal experts before heading briefly to a meeting of environmental ministers in Bologna.

In short he’s having a lot of fun at our expense, while he takes apart the EPA that Nixon inaugurated.

In total, the taxpayer-funded travel for Pruitt and his top aides during that stretch in early June cost at least $90,000, according to months of receipts obtained by the Environmental Integrity Project under the Freedom of Information Act. That figure does not account for the costs of Pruitt’s round-the-clock security detail, which have not been disclosed.

His round-the-clock security detail that is a bizarre and unprecedented thing for the head of the EPA to have, that is.

Such travel decisions, coupled with a tendency to not publicize out-of-town trips, have prompted criticism from Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups, who have questioned how much some of Pruitt’s trips have to do with the EPA’s mission.

“What did American taxpayers get for Pruitt visiting the Vatican and getting photographed with European agency heads?” said Eric Schaeffer, executive director of the Environmental Integrity Project, of last year’s Italy trip. “This was all for show.”

The group obtained Pruitt’s travel vouchers through litigation and is suing for other travel-related documents, including speeches he has made in closed-door meetings with industry officials.

“It is acutely paranoid,” Schaeffer said of the EPA’s refusal to disclose Pruitt’s whereabouts on any given day. “He’s a public official. His schedule should be publicly known.”

Destructive and extravagant; lucky us.

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