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: Trump administration to repeal waterway protections| House votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge| Administration takes key step to open Alaskan refuge to drilling by end of year Trump administration to repeal waterway protections The Hill's Morning Report - Gillibrand drops out as number of debaters shrinks 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 McCollumFederal watchdog: Trump admin broke law by pulling from park entrance fees during shutdown Interior official threatens to withhold jobs in lawmakers' districts after opposition to BLM move Overnight Energy: Greens scoff at Trump claim he's an 'environmentalist' | Endangered animals get new protections globally | Fires, climate on centerstage at G-7 | BLM's move west gets complicated 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.”