EPA chief to face fresh questions about spending in senate hearing

EPA chief to face fresh questions about spending in senate hearing

Pruitt goes before a Senate panel Wednesday as he faces a growing number of federal ethics investigations over his lavish spending on travel and security.

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.

"So I share your concerns about some of these decisions".

"No, I did not", Pruitt replied. "I also want to highlight for you that some of the criticism is unfounded, and I think, exaggerated, and I think it feeds this division we've seen around very important issues affecting the environment". The agency has said that its security personnel recommended he fly in the front of planes as a results of an analysis of threats against him. The subcommittee's chairman, Sen.

Pruitt replied that the "policies were followed to the best of my knowledge by each of the agents that serve me".

"No, I don't recall that", said Pruitt, when asked if he had personally requested the use of lights and sirens.

During an interview with ABC News, Kevin Chmielewski, Pruitt's former deputy chief of staff, said the administrator's assertion was a "bold-faced" lie. Last month, the GAO determined that EPA violated federal law when it bought and installed the booth.

In a February 2017 email released Wednesday by Democratic Sens. Altogether, the agency has spent about $3 million on Pruitt's 20-member full-time security detail, which is more than three times the size of his predecessor's part-time security contingent. Perrotta has since resigned.

"It has been set up", Pruitt told the Senate Appropriations Committee's subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies about the fund.

Pruitt said the agency intends to "take more concrete action" on C-8.

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At the beginning of the hearing, Republican Sen. "Nobody even knew who you were".

"Instead of being asked about the work that you're doing". She said she's "constantly asked" about his management of the agency, which overshadows much of his policy work that she is in agreement with.

Udall issued some of the harshest criticism of Pruitt, calling his leadership at the EPA "a betrayal of the American people". "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". He added that the White House was conducting its own investigation into the condo rental, as well as a separate probe into a $43,000 "soundproof privacy booth" Pruitt had installed in his Washington, DC, office.

As he did repeatedly throughout the hearing, Pruitt attempted to dodge the question. And the inspector general said Pruitt misrepresented to Congress a memo he provided them about security concerns.

Udall asked Pruitt a surprise question on whether he supports Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump presidential campaign and Russia's meddling in the 2016 election.

The EPA Inspector General undercut Pruitt's rationale for his around-the-clock security detail.

Pruitt later promoted Perrotta to lead his personal protective detail. It will be his fourth time before a congressional committee this year. Records show four accounts were created for Pruitt.

Udall accused Pruitt of continuing to flout legal requirements to inform lawmakers about that and other big-ticket spending, and "treating your position of public trust as a golden ticket for extravagant travel and fine dining".

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

"What is your response to the question on this report?" But industry could get a pass and keep much of its "confidential" business information secret.

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