Pruitt flew coach when taxpayers were not paying for his travel: report

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittGovernment watchdog probing EPA’s handling of Hurricane Harvey response Wheeler won’t stop America’s addiction to fossil fuels Overnight Energy: Trump rolls back methane pollution rule | EPA watchdog to step down | China puts tariffs on US gas MORE reportedly flew coach for certain flights home when taxpayers were not paying for his travel.

An EPA official speaking on the condition of anonymity told The Associated Press that Pruitt flew coach on weekend trips for Oklahoma Sooners football games.

Pruitt has come under scrutiny for his use of first-class travel for official agency business. His full-time security detail also reportedly flew first class. 

"According to EPA’s Assistant Inspector General, Scott Pruitt has faced an unprecedented amount of death threats against him and his family. Americans should all agree that members of the President’s cabinet should be kept safe from these violent threats," EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said in a statement to The Hill. 

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Pruitt has defended his first-class travel, saying that he had negative experiences with other passengers in coach.

"There have been instances, unfortunately, during my time as administrator, as I've flown ... of interaction that's not been the best," Pruitt said.

The EPA official also told the AP that Pruitt occasionally used an EPA senior adviser’s “buddy pass,” a frequent-flyer reward that allows individuals to bring another person on a flight for free.

The AP reported this week that Pruitt’s 20-person, full-time security detail, which is three times the size of his predecessor’s, has cost taxpayers about $3 million.

The director has been in the spotlight in recent weeks after it was reported that he rented a condo from the wife of an energy lobbyist for $50 a night, well below market value.

Updated: 9:40 p.m.