Dem: Inspector general ‘disputed’ Pruitt’s claims of death threats

Dem: Inspector general ‘disputed’ Pruitt’s claims of death threats
© Greg Nash

A House Democrat on Thursday questioned Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: EPA to make formal decision on regulating drinking water contaminant | Utility to close coal plant despite Trump plea | Greens say climate is high on 2020 voters’ minds EPA to announce PFAS chemical regulation plans by end of year Court tosses challenge to EPA's exclusion of certain scientists from advisory boards MORE’s assertion that he has gotten multiple death threats while in office, claims that have been used to justify Pruitt's bolstered security.

The EPA has argued that Pruitt's 24/7 security detail, which has cost more than $3 million, and him frequently flying first-class are necessary because he has received death threats.

But Rep. Betty McCollumBetty Louise McCollumLawmakers stunned by national park shutdown funding reversal Overnight Energy: GOP pushes back on climate | 2018 was fourth hottest year on record | Park Service reverses on using fees Park Service backtracks, won’t use entrance fees to pay for shutdown operations MORE (Minn.), the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee for the EPA, said the agency's Office of Inspector General (OIG) pushed back on comments Pruitt made at an earlier hearing about death threats.

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“We asked IG [Arthur] Elkins about such comments, and he disputed your claim,” McCollum said Thursday.

She asked if Pruitt wanted to correct his earlier statement that “the inspector general himself” documented the death threats.

“Did the inspector general him or herself tell you that you did not face death threats, that they have not found death threats?” she pressed.

Pruitt offered up a copy of a “threat assessment” from the OIG. He read two of the death threats, which he said came through Facebook and Twitter.

“We all receive death threats on our Facebook page,” McCollum retorted. “We all do.”

Two Senate Democrats obtained records from the EPA this month that they used to question Pruitt’s claims about death threats. Those records included an assessment from the EPA’s Homeland Security office that said Pruitt’s security detail “has not identified any specific credible direct threat to the EPA administrator.”