First on CNN: Security costs skyrocket at ‘lightning rod’ EPA

October 23, 2017

By Rene Marsh and Gregory Wallace –

The Environmental Protection Agency is beefing up security measures surrounding Administrator Scott Pruitt to an unprecedented level, CNN has learned, as members of Congress are asking if the costs are a “potential waste or abuse of taxpayer dollars.”

Pruitt’s security detail is in the process of expanding by hiring a dozen more agents, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, as the number of threats against the agency leader increase. The incoming agents will grow the team that works in shifts to provide him around-the-clock protection, something unheard of for Pruitt’s predecessors.
Salaries alone for the full team will cost at least $2 million per year, according to figures compiled by CNN from public documents. The numbers do not include costs such as training, equipment, and travel.
The spending increase comes as the Trump administration has laid out plans to cut the agency’s budget by 30%, including major cuts to the agency’s enforcement work and staffing as well as the elimination of some programs. Pruitt told Congress in June that the EPA “can fulfill the mission of our agency with a trimmed budget, with proper leadership and management.”
Pruitt’s travel spending has also come under scrutiny following news reports outlining frequent trips to his home state of Oklahoma, as well as several flights on charter and government aircraft.

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