Energy & Environment

EPA spent $1,560 on customized fountain pens for Pruitt: emails

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shelled out $1,560 to pay for customized fountain pens for Administrator Scott Pruitt, according to internal emails.

The 12 silver pens, made by a Washington-based jewelry store, included an EPA seal and Pruitt's signature, The Washington Post first reported Friday. The order was among a larger $3,230 order that included personalized journals from Tiny Jewel Box, a store that calls itself D.C.'s "premier destination for fine jewelry and watches."

Each of the pens cost taxpayers $130, according to emails sent between an account manager and Pruitt's political aide and scheduler Millan Hupp. The emails were released in a Freedom of Information Act request by the Sierra Club this week.

"The cost of the Qty. 12 Fountain Pens will be around $1,560.00," the retailer told Hupp on Aug. 14, "All the other items total cost is around $1,670.00 which these items are in process. Please advise."

"Yes, please order," Hupp responded. "Thank you."

EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said the pens were created to hand out as gifts.

"These purchases were made for the purpose of serving as gifts to the Administrator's foreign counterparts and dignitaries upon his meeting with them," Wilcox said in a statement. "This adheres to the same protocol of former EPA Administrators and were purchased using funds budgeted for such a purpose."

Pruitt has met heavy criticism in the past for spending on items ranging from a $43,000 soundproof booth, $9,600 in office decor and thousands on first-class travel. He's also been accused of misusing taxpayer money on a round-the-clock security team, which has cost the EPA $3.5 million in his first year.