Dem senator mocks Pruitt over alleged security threats: 'Nobody even knows who you are'

Dem senator mocks Pruitt over alleged security threats: 'Nobody even knows who you are'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Senators press NSA official over shuttered phone surveillance program EPA blames advisory board for controversial changes to FOIA policy MORE (D-Vt.) chided Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Fight between EPA watchdog, agency lawyers heats up | Top EPA official under investigation over document destruction | DOJ issues subpoenas to automakers in California emissions pact Top EPA official under investigation in document destruction EPA rolls back rule on waste from coal-fired power plants MORE on Wednesday for racking up more than $100,000 in expenses on first-class flights, telling him that "nobody even knows who you are."

“What a silly reason you had to fly first class, because of a danger to you, unless you flew first class,” Leahy told Pruitt at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing for the EPA. “Nobody even knows who you are.”

“Oh, somebody might criticize you? You got security people that we’ve never seen before. But you have to fly first-class?" Leahy continued. "Oh, come on.”

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Pruitt has come under fire for a number of questionable expenses and arrangements in recent months. Politico reported in March that the EPA administrator had spent more than $105,000 on first-class flights, in addition to $58,000 spent to charter private and military planes.

The EPA has said that the first-class flights were necessary, because of security threats against Pruitt. 

In a memo obtained by The Washington Post last week, the head of Pruitt's security detail requested business or first-class seating for the administrator, because of passengers "lashing out" at Pruitt when he was seated in coach.

"We believe that the continued use of coach seats for the Administrator would endanger his life and therefore respectfully ask that he be placed in either business or first class accommodations," the memo, dated May 1, 2017, reads.