Files undercut Pruitt's need for 1st-class travel

Files undercut Pruitt's need for 1st-class travel

Two top Democrats on the committee, ranking member Thomas R. Carper of DE and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, on Tuesday demanded such hearings, saying they have confidential documents that contradict public statements made by Pruitt, EPA spokespersons and President Donald Trump regarding the administrator's security spending.

"Documents provided to us by EPA official (s) suggest the agency has relied on questionable threats to the Administrator, including reports of non-violent protests, negative feedback about the administrators actions or other First Amendment protected activity to justify millions of dollars in additional security spending, inducing first-class air travel, as compared to his predecessors at the agency", Carper and Whitehouse wrote. The agency declined to comment on the dismissal, but a source told Politico that Caraballo was removed over a personnel issue and that agency leadership was unhappy with his report.

While the chairman made it clear he will not be investigating Pruitt in the near future, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is pressing ahead.

But the letter said that not everyone at the EPA agrees with that characterization and that evaluations from EPA offices and the U.S. Secret Service found no credible threats against Pruitt.

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., a member of the committee, accused Republicans of not conducting oversight, saying Tuesday there has been "no serious investigation of anything with respect to this administration on our committee at all".

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo, the chairman of the Senate panel with jurisdiction over the EPA, talked about he is prepared for the tip results of a White Dwelling evaluation of Pruitt's conduct and spending. But there have been more questions and calls for investigation into whether it created a conflict of interest for Pruitt to rent from the wife of a lobbyist whose firm represented clients with interests before the EPA.

Henry Barnet, who directs EPA's Office of Criminal Enforcement, Forensics and Training, told The Post that the goal was to provide "a buffer" between Pruitt and the public. "Scott Pruitt has lost all credibility and the confidence of the American people - it's time for him to go".

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Gowdy's letter to Pruitt is available here.

Agency officials in a February 14 "Preliminary Intelligence Enterprise Threat Assessment Review" memo used all caps and bold print in the conclusion that justification for Pruitt's detail "does not employ sound analysis or articulate relevant "threat specific" information appropriate to draw any resource or level of threat conclusions regarding the protection posture for the administrator", The Post reported.

"Administrator Pruitt does not have a challenge coin, EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox told The Hill". They also acknowledged, though, that the materials might be incomplete.

"Either way", they add, their committee "has a responsibility to look into these matters".

President Donald Trump defended Pruitt in a tweet Saturday night, downplaying the ethical questions swirling around his embattled EPA chief.

According to one internal agency memo, there have been at least 16 "threats" against Mr. Pruitt.

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