GOP senator blasts Dems for releasing 'sensitive' EPA documents on Pruitt security

GOP senator blasts Dems for releasing 'sensitive' EPA documents on Pruitt security
© Greg Nash

The head of the Senate committee that oversees the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is blasting two Democratic senators for releasing "sensitive" internal EPA documents related to Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Groups sue Interior over bird killing policy | Dem seeks probe into EPA blocking reporters from event | Report faults safety standards at Texas chemical plant Dem lawmaker calls for investigation into EPA blocking reporters from event House Dems request information from EPA on Pruitt's legal fund MORE's expensive 24-hour security detail.

Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoSenate panel unanimously approves water infrastructure bill Senate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA Watchdog to probe EPA email preservation MORE (R-Wyo.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said he was "deeply troubled" by the decisions of two other committee members, Democratic Sens. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperSenate Dems to Mnuchin: Don't index capital gains to inflation Overnight Energy: Reporters barred from Day 2 of EPA summit | Dems blame Trump for gas price increases | Massachusetts to get new offshore wind farm Dems question whether administration broke law with citizenship question on census MORE (Del.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseSenate Dems to Mnuchin: Don't index capital gains to inflation EPA extends comment period on controversial science transparency rule House easily passes prison reform bill backed by Trump MORE (R.I.), to write him a letter that disclosed sections of the EPA document.


"I am deeply troubled that members of the committee would publicly release law enforcement sensitive information regarding the safety and security of a Cabinet member and his family,” Barrasso said in a statement Tuesday. “This letter selectively quotes non-public documents."

The two Democrats wrote in a letter to Barrasso early Tuesday that various internal EPA records questioned the idea that Pruitt has faced an “unprecedented” number of death threats and that the agency “has identified specific, ongoing threats associated with the administrator’s air travel.”

“These assertions do not appear to be consistent with the non-public EPA documents we have obtained,” the two senators wrote.

Both senators are asking Barrasso to convene oversight hearings into Pruitt’s security practices.

However, in Barrasso's statement, he pushed back, saying no hearing will be held on the topic.

"This is exactly why members should not publicly disclose information that relates to the safety of a cabinet member. It is also why this committee will not hold a hearing on this issue,” the statement read.

Barrasso added that the documents only supported Pruitt's requests for round-the-clock security.

"Any reasonable reading of these documents supports the Office of the Inspector General’s statements that Administrator Pruitt faces a ‘variety of direct death threats,'" read the statement.

The Washington Post reported over the weekend that Pruitt's security has cost him upward of $3 million. He is the only Cabinet secretary to utilize a 24-hour detail that accompanies him on international trips as well as personal excursions, including a family vacation to Disneyland and the Rose Bowl.

Pruitt is facing a litany of scandals, many related to his spending and travel. Scores of congressional Democrats have called for his ouster over a $50-a-night condo rental he arranged last year with the wife of a prominent energy lobbyist.