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EPA watchdog says Pruitt sought 24/7 protection from start

17 May 2018

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt faced multiple questions and criticisms during a Senate hearing about the scandals surrounding his time at the environmental agency.

In regards to reports that he rented accommodations in Washington at below-market rates from the family of an energy lobbyist, Mr. Pruitt has noted that his agency's ethics officer signed off on his lease agreement. "These are cuts that I can not support", Murkowski said. "I want to rectify those going forward".

Udall said Pruitt is the subject of 12 investigations, including five by the EPA's Office of Inspector General (IG).

But Patrick Leahy, also a Democrat, blasted the agency chief for claiming he needed first class travel for security reasons, saying it was 'silly'.

When Udall pressed him again, Pruitt said he does not recall and that policies were followed by his agents "in all instances". "You had to fly first class?"

Udall, describing Pruitt's management of the agency as "disastrous, " again called on Pruitt to resign.

Udall said he was calling for a GAO investigation into the tweet to see whether it violated anti-propaganda laws. Perrotta has since resigned.

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Pruitt appeared before the Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday to discuss the EPA's 2019 budget, bur the hearing quickly turned into a grill session as Democrats demanded answers as to why Pruitt allegedly used taxpayer dollars for first class flights, security detail and office renovations.

The senator said that constituents frequently asked her not about the line items such as the Clean Power Plan or the Superfund program, but instead asking about the more sensational or controversial news surrounding Pruitt himself.

In a hearing in Washington, Sen. "Nobody even knows who you are". Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, a Mississippi Republican, said she was "most impressed" with his push to ease regulations and clean up a contaminated site in her state.

Pruitt denied having knowledge of EPA concerns and told Capito the agency will hold a C-8 summit next week. "I'm anxious you are spending all of your time enriching yourself and your friends while betraying your mission to protect human health and the environment".

For his part, Pruitt took the same approach as he did in a pair of contentious House hearings last month, largely steering clear of addressing the dozen probes he is facing on topics such as the installation of a $43,000 soundproof phone booth in his office, a cut-rate condo rental from a lobbyist previous year, and his domestic and global travel expenses.

As he did repeatedly throughout the hearing, Pruitt attempted to dodge the question.

"They will be published, yes", the administrator said.

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President Donald Trump expressed his confidence in Pruitt as recently as last week at a meeting with automakers, where Pruitt sat one seat away from Trump.

Pruitt also addressed the ethics allegations against him in general.

Pruitt later promoted Perrotta to lead his personal protective detail.

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt will testify in front of a Senate subcommittee on Wednesday about his agency's budget, exposing him to fresh questions about his travel and security spending. Records show four accounts were created for Pruitt. When the proposal was flagged, EPA, White House and Department of Defense officials scrambled to block the release of ATSDR's toxicology report.

Among Pruitt's guests at a dinner in Italy a year ago was Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican official who has been charged with sexual abuse.

Internal emails show how EPA officials shielded Pruitt from facing questions from the public and reporters.

"We need more information, not less", Pruitt said.

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CNN uncovered an "executive protection" playbook posted by the security company owned by Pruitt's now-departed security chief. Pruitt offered few specifics about next steps to Sen. Some gave the occasional compliment, including Republican Sen.

EPA watchdog says Pruitt sought 24/7 protection from start