Security Detail Added $30,554 More to EPA Chief's Italy Trip

(Bloomberg) -- Travel costs for security personnel accompanying Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to Italy tallied $30,554, bringing the grand total for the trip to $120,249, according to documents obtained by the Environmental Integrity Project.

“That’s a lot of money for Mr. Pruitt to tour the Vatican, pose for photos, and tell his European counterparts that global warming doesn’t matter,” said Eric Schaeffer, director of the nonprofit oversight group.

Pruitt has drawn bipartisan scrutiny for spending that is unorthodox compared with his predecessors. He told CBS News earlier this month that he would fly coach when traveling on EPA business -- a downgrade from first-class flights that ignited public criticism. Pruitt moved to the pricier section after “vulgar” encounters and threats from coach passengers, EPA officials said last month. He postponed an Israeli trip during the peak of attention to his travel spending last month. The EPA Inspector General and the U.S. General Accountability Office are investigating the construction of a private-communications booth in Pruitt’s office that cost more than $43,000, according to the Washington Post.

The newly revealed expenses for personal security detail add to a trip that already cost more than $36,000 for a military flight segment and $53,633 in airfare, hotels, meals, and ground transportation for the administrator and nine staff members. Two of the travelers, accounting for about $8,600 of the total, were career EPA staff members, not political appointees. Pruitt’s plane ticket for the G7 environmental ministers’ meeting cost more than $7,000.

“Administrator Pruitt’s security detail followed the same procedures for the G7 environmental meeting in Italy that were used during EPA Administrators Stephen Johnson, Lisa Jackson, and Gina McCarthy’s trips to Italy. EPA’s security procedures have not deviated over the past 14 years,” said EPA Spokesman Jahan Wilcox.

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