Watchdog: EPA hasn't provided 'sufficient justification' for decision not to recover Pruitt travel spending

Watchdog: EPA hasn't provided 'sufficient justification' for decision not to recover Pruitt travel spending
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An internal watchdog said Tuesday that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hasn’t provided a good explanation for its decision not to recover travel expenses from former Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats chart course to 'solving the climate crisis' by 2050 | Commerce Department led 'flawed process' on Sharpiegate, watchdog finds | EPA to end policy suspending pollution monitoring by end of summer Watchdog: EPA hasn't provided 'sufficient justification' for decision not to recover Pruitt travel spending OVERNIGHT ENERGY: DOJ whistleblower says California emissions probe was 'abuse of authority' | EPA won't defend policy blocking grantees from serving on boards | Minnesota sues Exxon, others over climate change MORE that were found to be improper. 

In a new update to a report from last year, the EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG) said the agency decided it won’t try to recoup the costs but “has not provided sufficient justification to support the basis of the determination, that is, evidence that a security risk existed at the time.”

A 2018 inspector general report found that Pruitt and his staff spent $123,942 on “excessive airfare expenses ... without sufficient justification to support security concerns requiring the use of first- and business-class travel.” It recommended that the EPA demand reimbursement from Pruitt for his share of the expenses. 

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Testifying before Congress this year, EPA Administrator Andrew WheelerAndrew WheelerOVERNIGHT ENERGY: WH pushed for 'correction' to Weather Service tweet contradicting Trump in 'Sharpiegate' incident, watchdog says | Supreme Court rules that large swath of Oklahoma belongs to Native American tribe EPA proposes tighter emissions standards for industrial boilers after court order Watchdog: EPA hasn't provided 'sufficient justification' for decision not to recover Pruitt travel spending MORE said he did not know whether the agency had the authority to recover the money from Pruitt. 

“They didn’t specify what authority we would have to recoup that money,” Wheeler said of an OIG report. 

Wheeler became the head of the agency following Pruitt’s 2018 resignation. Pruitt left his post amid a number of ethics controversies, including his use of first-class travel for EPA related work.