Senate hearing focuses on EPA Pruitt's spending

Senate hearing focuses on EPA Pruitt's spending

On a conference call with agriculture reporters Tuesday Grassley said Pruitt had better follow through with ethanol mandates or "I'm going to be calling for Pruitt to resign because I'm done playing around with this". A letter from the agency's inspector general Monday contradicted Pruitt's claim that his around-the-clock protection was a response to an assessment of death threats against him, and instead began at his own request and on his first day at the job.

Udall accused Pruitt of continuing to flout legal requirements to inform lawmakers about that and other big-ticket spending, and "treating your position of public trust as a golden ticket for extravagant travel and fine dining".

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EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins says in letters to Democratic senators that Pruitt himself initiated the 24-hour protection.

In testimony before two House subcommittees last month, Pruitt sought to put the blame for any missteps on his subordinates, saying that his security team decided he should fly in first class and that his chief of staff approved the questionable raises.

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Pruitt has been under pressure from mainly Democratic lawmakers in recent weeks over a series of controversies ranging from his use of first-class travel to his 24/7 security detail and costly office renovations - but has retained the support of President Donald Trump and most Republicans for his efforts at EPA to roll back regulations characterized as obstacles to industry.

Trump has remained publicly supportive of Pruitt, despite the consistent flood of scandals plaguing Pruitt and his department. The security chief recently took early retirement from EPA amid questions about whether he improperly recommended a business partner for a government contract and outside work he performed as a private investigator for a tabloid newspaper. That includes flying first class on commercial airliners. He briskly made his way out to a waiting black SUV with tinted windows before driving away.

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