EPA inspector general to probe Pruitt's use of taxpayer-funded security detail on trips to Disneyland, Rose Bowl game

EPA inspector general to probe Pruitt's use of taxpayer-funded security detail on trips to Disneyland, Rose Bowl game
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The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) inspector general will investigate 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’s use of a security detail on personal trips, in response to a Democratic senator’s request for the probe.

Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDem vows to probe 'why the FBI stood down' on Kavanaugh Senate Democrats increase pressure for FBI investigation of Kavanaugh Senate Dems sue Archives to try to force release of Kavanaugh documents MORE (D-R.I.) announced Thursday that EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins has responded to his request by agreeing to open a separate investigation into Pruitt’s use of a taxpayer-funded security detail during travel to Disneyland, the Rose Bowl and other personal trips.

OIG spokeswoman Tia Elbaum confirmed to The Hill that the office is taking up the review.

“While I consider matters of personal security to be extremely serious, personal security should never be used as a pretext to obtain special treatment,” Whitehouse wrote in a letter to Elkins last month.

In Whitehouse’s original letter, he alleged that Pruitt took a security detail on family vacations to Disneyland and on trips to the Rose Bowl and to his home in Tulsa, Okla., for college basketball games. The allegations were based on schedules and documents the senator said he received from an unnamed source.

The EPA inspector general is already investigating Pruitt’s travel habits, and the White House budget office is looking into the agency’s decision to spend $43,000 to install a soundproof phone booth for Pruitt.

Pruitt’s travel and spending habits have been in the national spotlight in recent weeks after it was revealed that he rented a condo in Washington co-owned by the wife of an energy lobbyist for $50 per night, an apparently preferential rental commitment that only applied on the nights he stayed there.

It was also recently reported that Pruitt’s 24/7 security detail, which is three times the size of his predecessor’s, cost taxpayers nearly $3 million.

-Timothy Cama contributed to this report which was updated at 3:08 p.m.