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EPA Chief’s First-Class Travel in Crosshairs of GOP Investigation

EWG: Tax Dollars Should Go to Public Health, Not More Leg Room
(202) 667-6982
For Immediate Release: 
Thursday, February 22, 2018

WASHINGTON – The Republican chair of the House oversight committee is demanding the travel records of Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., called for Pruitt to provide details of his travel expenses since becoming EPA administrator a year ago. Gowdy joined other members of Congress in expressing serious concerns over conflicting statements from the EPA regarding whether Pruitt has been given a “blanket waiver” to fly first class at the expense of taxpayers.

The Washington Post recently reported that Pruitt and several top aides spent more than $90,000 on air travel in just one month. In June he spent $1,641 on a first-class seat from Washington to New York, a flight that takes about an hour and a half.

“Scott Pruitt burns through cash on lavish first-class travel like a Wall Street banker. Unfortunately, he’s using precious taxpayer dollars, not his own, to do it,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “That money could be used to protect public health, but Pruitt has decided squandering it on more leg room and a bigger seat is a much better use of taxpayers’ money.”

Pruitt has justified his first-class travel based on uncomfortable interactions with passengers flying coach.

“Most Americans don’t make $90,000 a year. Pruitt drops that in a month on plane tickets alone, using money from the pockets of hardworking Americans,” said Cook. “Rep. Gowdy should be applauded for his determination to get to the bottom of this. President Trump should do the same.”

“I hope someone can explain how first-class travel translates into better security for Pruitt when his security detail is sitting back in coach,” added Cook. “Here’s an offer you’ll never hear from an airline: ‘Fly first class. We want you to be safe from salty language.’ Maybe he should get a companion animal to protect him from the disgruntled taxpayers in coach instead.”

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