EPA Inspector General’s Office Widens Probe Into Scott Pruitt’s Travel

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 18: Scott Pruitt, President Trump's nominee to be administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, testifies during his Senate Environment and Public Works Committee confirmation hearing in Dirksen Building, January 18, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)  (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)
Tom Williams/CQPHO

The Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general’s office said in a letter dated Thursday that it planned to “expand” a preliminary investigation into agency administrator Scott Pruitt’s air travel.

In late September, the EPA confirmed reports that Pruitt had taken one charter flight and three military flights at taxpayers’ expense. According to multiple reports, the flights together cost more than $58,000.

The announcement Friday expands an investigation that began in late August into Pruitt’s taxpayer-funded flights home to Oklahoma.

In a letter to the EPA’s acting chief financial officer Thursday, of which Pruitt received a copy, the inspector general’s office outlined the probe’s new objectives:

• The frequency, cost and extent of the Administrator’s travel through September 30, 2017.

• Whether applicable EPA travel policies and procedures were followed for Administrator Pruitt’s travel, as well as other EPA staff and security personnel traveling with or in advance of Administrator Pruitt.

• Whether EPA policies and procedures are sufficiently designed to prevent fraud, waste and abuse with the Administrator’s travel.

In a statement to the Washington Post, EPA spokesperson Liz Bowman said that the Trump administration “will work to ensure all officials follow appropriate rules and regulations when traveling, including seeking commercial options at all times appropriate and feasible, to ensure the efficient use of government resources.”