April 17, 2018
Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis –
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt upgraded his official car last year to a costlier, larger vehicle with bullet-resistant covers over bucket seats, according to federal records and interviews with current and former agency officials.
Recent EPA administrators have traveled in a Chevrolet Tahoe, and agency officials had arranged for Pruitt to use the same vehicle when he joined the administration in February. But he switched to a larger, newer and more high-end Chevy Suburban last June.
One former EPA official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation, said that Pruitt remarked that he wanted the larger car because it was similar to ones in which some other Cabinet officials rode. The first year’s lease of the vehicle cost $10,200, according to federal contracting records.
The records show that the EPA administrator’s office signed a lease in June on the Suburban, paying more than $300 extra per month for upgrades such as a leather interior, bucket seats in the second row and WiFi and GPS navigation. A representative at the Maryland-based company who provided the lease said the LT model that the EPA requested represents an upgrade from the LS model that is typical on government leases.