Exclusive: EPA chief’s aides, security agents made $45,000 trip to Australia

April 19, 2018

By Jeff Mason –

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, under fire from lawmakers for travel and security expenses, spent about $45,000 in government money to fly five people to Australia to prepare for a planned trip that was later canceled.

Two of his aides and three security agents flew to Australia last August on business-class tickets costing roughly $9,000 each to set up meetings for the EPA administrator.

The purchase of business-class tickets was not a violation of U.S. government policy, which allows federal employees to travel business class on trips lasting 14 hours or more.

But the spending on a five-person “advance” team for the Australia trip, revealed by U.S. officials who spoke to Reuters, comes as Pruitt faces scrutiny over his own frequent first-class travel and spending on such items as a 24-hour security detail.

The White House budget office has said it is investigating whether a $43,000 soundproof phone booth installed for Pruitt in his office at EPA headquarters violated the law.

Read More in Reuters