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IG: Threat memo cited by Pruitt isn’t from IG

IG: Threat memo cited by Pruitt isn’t from IG
© Greg Nash

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) pushed back Thursday against EPA head Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOklahoma AG resigns following news of divorce, alleged affair Court sets in motion EPA ban on pesticide linked to developmental issues Scientific integrity, or more hot air? MORE, saying he misrepresented a memo about the threats against him in testimony to the House.

In two separate hearings Thursday, Pruitt presented to lawmakers a “threat assessment” that he said came from Inspector General Arthur Elkins detailing various death threats against him.

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He used the memo to justify his security costs, including the purchase of first-class airline tickets and the employment of a 24/7 security detail.

But the OIG says the document wasn’t from Elkins.

“The memo that he read from was not from Inspector General Elkins. It was an internal memo from Assistant IG for Investigations Patrick Sullivan,” OIG spokeswoman Kentia Elbaum said in a statement.

“It was leaked without authorization,” Elbaum said, adding that the OIG plans to release it soon in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

Elbaum’s statement described Pruitt as “waving a document he said was from the Inspector General.”

At the afternoon hearing with the House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee with authority over the EPA’s budget, Rep. Betty McCollumBetty Louise McCollumProgressives ramp up scrutiny of US funding for Israel Overnight Defense: Groups use Afghanistan withdrawal to push for defense budget cuts | Confederate renaming effort could affect 'hundreds' of military assets | Progressives see 'historic' moment to shift US-Israel relations Groups urge Congress to use Afghanistan withdrawal to cut defense budget MORE (Minn.), the subpanel’s top Democrat, repeatedly asked Pruitt whether the document was from Elkins.

“The document says ‘inspector general,’” Pruitt replied. He similarly claimed earlier to the House Energy and Commerce Committee that the inspector general wrote the report.

Sullivan has told multiple news outlets that Pruitt has gotten far more death threats than previous EPA administrators.

“We have at least four times — four to five times the number of threats against Mr. Pruitt than we had against Ms. [Gina] McCarthy,” he told CNN.

The New York Times reported this month that Sullivan was spotted drinking at a bar near the EPA’s headquarters with Pasquale Perrotta, the head of Pruitt’s security detail and the impetus behind much of Pruitt’s high-level security.

That spurred Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington to ask that the OIG look into their relationship and whether Sullivan should be involved with investigations involving Pruitt or Perrotta.