Politico: EPA Ousted Staffer Who Signed Report That Weakened Pruitt’s Security Claims

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 ousted a career staffer who signed off on a report that undermined Administrator Scott Pruitt’s claims of a need for around-the-clock security detail, Politico reported Tuesday.

The staffer, Mario Caraballo, was the deputy associate administrator for the EPA’s Office of Homeland Security. In February that department determined that a previous review of threats made against Pruitt did not identify “credible direct threats” that would justify Pruitt’s high spending on security, which has reportedly exceed $3 million.

The EPA has claimed that Pruitt requires the unprecedented security because of the volume of threats he’s received since joining the administration — like people cursing at him in public.

In a letter to the chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee on Tuesday, Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Tom Carper (D-DE) cited that report as justification for its request for an oversight hearing on Pruitt’s spending.

According to two former agency employees familiar with the situation who spoke with Politico, the EPA claimed Caraballo was removed from his post over a personnel issue from a previous military job. That source told Politico officials also weren’t happy about the report.

Pruitt has been plagued with frequent reports of impropriety in recent weeks, raising speculation about how long he’ll remain as head of the EPA. President Donald Trump has indicated on Twitter that Pruitt is safe in his post for now.

Read Politico’s full report here.

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