Ex-EPA chief Scott Pruitt spent nearly $124,000 on 'excessive airfare,' agency says

Image: Scott Pruitt at a meeting on Capitol Hill
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Environment on Capitol Hill on April 26, 2018 in Washington. Copyright Brendan Smialowski AFP - Getty Images file
Copyright Brendan Smialowski AFP - Getty Images file
By Laura Strickler and Adiel Kaplan with NBC News Politics
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The inspector general's report found there was not "sufficient justification to support security concerns requiring the use of first- and business-class travel."


Former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt and his staff spent nearly $124,000 on unnecessary first- and business-class air travel during 10 months in 2017, according to a new report from the EPA's Office of the Inspector General.

The excessive first- and business- class travel for Pruitt and his personal security detail was $123,942 between March 1, 2017 and the end of the year. Pruitt resigned seven months later,amid several ethics scandals surrounding his alleged abuse of agency resources. He was the fourth cabinet-level official to resign in the Trump administration.

Of the 40 trips the report looked at, 16 included travel to, or had stops in, Tulsa, Oklahoma, — the location of Pruitt's personal residence. The total cost of all the trips was $985,037.

The report is the result of an internal probe into Pruitt's travel expenses during his tenure overseeing the agency and was prompted by numerous congressional requests and hotline complaints, according the agency.


Pruitt and his staff failed to comply with federal travel regulations and the agency's internal policies, inspectors found. Among the findings were improper approval of expensive lodging costs, inaccurate and incomplete international trip reports and not justifying the use of non-contract air carriers.

"If the agency's internal controls over travel aren't strengthened, abuses may continue to occur at great cost to EPA programs and taxpayers," said Deputy Inspector General Charles Sheehan.

The inspector general recommended that the agency's chief financial officer determine whether Pruitt or any of the other officials should pay back the excessive airfare from those 10 months, or any additional excessive expenses from the remainder of his tenure.

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

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