February 22, 2018
By Natasha Geiling –
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt’s expensive first class travel isn’t just raising objections from environmentalists and Democratic legislators — Republican House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) also wants answers.
In a letter sent to Pruitt on Wednesday, Gowdy asked for information on all flights that Pruitt took in the last year, including whether an individual waiver was obtained in order to purchase a first or business class ticket.
Gowdy also reminded Pruitt that “blanket waivers” for first class travel are prohibited by government regulations, which require federal employees to travel by coach except in extraordinary circumstances.
A report from the Washington Post revealed that in the span of several weeks in June, Pruitt spent at least $90,000 in taxpayer money to fly first and business class on several trips related to EPA work. When questioned about the practice, the EPA said that Pruitt had a “blanket waiver” for first class travel due to security concerns, but later walked that statement back, clarifying that Pruitt obtains a waiver each time he flies.