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
© Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) inspector general will investigate Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittChaos within the EPA exposes Americans to toxins like asbestos How EPA Administrator Wheeler completely misinterprets science The Memo: Can Trump run as an outsider? MORE’s use of a security detail on personal trips, in response to a Democratic senator’s request for the probe.

Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseSize of 2020 field too big even for Democratic enthusiasts, poll finds Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Trump's UN pick faces Senate grilling 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.