Employees say Pruitt’s head of security encouraged his spending: report

Employees say Pruitt’s head of security encouraged his spending: report
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The head of Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Court rejects new effort to stop kids' climate lawsuit | Baltimore is latest city to sue over climate change | EPA staffers worried about toxic chemical in Pruitt's desk Pruitt staffers worried about toxic chemical in his desk Andrew Wheeler must reverse damage to American heartland MORE's security detail at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) encouraged him to engage in wasteful spending, Politico reports.

According to Politico, Pasquale Perrotta, the head of security at the EPA, encouraged some of Pruitt's more questionable spending decisions, including urging the EPA chief to fly first class to avoid hostile passengers and his request for a $43,000 soundproof phone booth.

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Perrotta also shot down insinuations from other EPA staffers that Pruitt's spending habits might be improper, the report alleges.

“They would object to anything when we said, ‘No, you can’t do that’ or ‘That would be wrong,’” said Ron Slotkin, a former EPA multimedia official: “We’d say, ‘It’s not a matter of legality, it’s ethics. It’s the way things look.’ But they went out of their way to do something different.”

“He’ll do anything to satisfy his boss,” another unnamed staffer added.

Other EPA staffers told Politico that Perrotta often weighs in on matters related to environmental policy, despite not having a policymaking position.

“It wasn’t uncommon that given travel and Nino’s proximity, he would always weigh in on matters beyond his scope as security, leveraging his institutional knowledge,” one source told the website. “He often would say what he recalled prior administrators doing.”

Pruitt's future in the administration has been thrown into question by a series of damaging news reports about his spending habits, including allegations that he ordered aides to find reasons for him to travel to various cities in order to accumulate frequent flier miles.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff: Surveillance warrant docs show that Nunes memo 'misrepresented and distorted these applications' Chicago detention facility under investigation following allegations of abuse of migrant children Ex-Trump aide: Surveillance warrants are 'complete ignorance' and 'insanity' MORE has maintained public support for Pruitt and dismissed criticism of his spending habits as Democratic attacks. In a tweet over the weekend, the president also defended Pruitt over allegations that he rented a room from the wife of a top energy lobbyist for just $50 per night.

"While Security spending was somewhat more than his predecessor, Scott Pruitt has received death threats because of his bold actions at EPA," Trump tweeted on Saturday. "Record clean Air & Water while saving USA Billions of Dollars. Rent was about market rate, travel expenses OK. Scott is doing a great job!"