EPA Chief Pruitt Travels Home Frequently On Taxpayer’s Dime, Report Finds

Cheriss May/SIPPL Sipa USA

Over the course of three months this spring, Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, spent nearly half of his time either in or traveling to and from his home state, according to an analysis of his travel records.

Pruitt spent 48 out of 92 days in March, April, and May traveling, 43 of which he spent either in or traveling to and from his home state of Oklahoma, according to the Environmental Integrity Project, a nonprofit formed by former EPA officials. The group’s analysis was based on travel documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The trips cost $12,000, most of which was spent on the travel to and from Oklahoma, according to the group’s analysis. Pruitt did put his own money toward some of the travel to his home state, but the EPA fronted the cost of most of his travel there, according to the Environmental Integrity Project.

The documents obtained by the group show that for the most part, Pruitt had meetings to attend in the state when he traveled there. The documents do not provide a schedule for every trip Pruitt took to Oklahoma, however.

Pruitt’s travel and use of taxpayer money does not appear to violate any ethics rules.

In a statement to the New York Times, a spokeswoman for the EPA said that Pruitt visited Oklahoma to take care of agency business.

“Administrator Pruitt is committed to serving the president by leading the Environmental Protection Agency; he is not running for elected office. The administrator’s travel, whether to Utah, Michigan or Oklahoma, all serves the purpose of hearing from hard-working Americans about how E.P.A. can better serve the American people,” spokeswoman Liz Bowman told the Times when asked about Pruitt’s travel to his home state and potential political plans for the future.

The last EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy, often traveled to her home in Boston but paid for her own travel there, the New York Times noted.