While America’s focus has rightly been on the Trump administration’s draconian border policing, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is out here balling!
According to The Intercept, Pruitt has now spent some $4.6 million on security, a $1.1 million increase since his last financial disclosure, and “according to three expense line items for April, spent a total of $2,749.62 on ‘tactical pants’ and ‘tactical polos.’”
Does Pruitt mean khakis and police-style polos? Where in the hell is he buying his tactical pants and polos from? Barneys? Any child who has ever gone to private school knows that you can get a Hefty-bag-ful of “tactical polos and pants” at Burlington Coat Factory for less than $200. Why is Pruitt this way, and more important, why don’t Republicans—the budget-line hawks—give a shit?
Pruitt’s spending has been under intense scrutiny since it was discovered that the EPA head was spending money like Richard Pryor in Brewster’s Millions.
Here’s how The Intercept explains Pruitt’s spending habits:
In May, CNBC and other outlets reported that the mounting cost of Pruitt’s security detail had reached $3.5 million, but that didn’t include any of the cost of equipment or the most recent salary and travelexpenditures.
Despite the mounting criticism of Pruitt’s high spending, his security expenses have continued to rise. Security payroll spending for his office increased in the most recent quarter by $138,373 — totaling $742,205 and almost double the cost from the same period in 2017.
EPA administrators are not typically provided with 24-hour protection, but Pruitt has received the service. The EPA defended the move by pointing to an increased number of threats. Yet Senate Democrats claim that they have reviewed an internal EPA security assessment and that no actual credible threats have been received. According to the lawmakers, among the threats considered by the EPA were protesters asking questions at events and a postcard received by Pruitt’s office that said, “Climate change is real!! We are watching you.”
Pruitt’s office spent $24,115 on a variety of tactical clothing and body armor in seven separate orders. All of the tactical gear was purchased in 2018, more than a year into Pruitt’s tenure as EPA chief. The agency spent a staggering $88,603 on radios and accessories, including holsters and travel chargers.
According to the expense records, Pruitt’s office also spent $150,900 on leasing vehicles. The list of expenditures does not break down how many vehicles were leased or any specific details about them, but the rate is considerably higher than past expenses along these lines. By contrast, when Pruitt received an upgraded Chevy Suburban with bullet-resistant seats, the one-year lease for that vehicle had cost $10,200.
The agency also spent $931 in September 2017 on a “breaching kit” — items typically used by law enforcement to gain entry to a locked building or vehicle. Pruitt’s security team has run into problems with locked doors before: His security detail called the police to his apartment on March 29, 2017, when they became concerned that they couldn’t contact him. Pruitt was taking a nap, but the police and guards smashed down the door and eventually had to pay $2,460 to replace it. Despite that embarrassment, the security detail now has its own door-smasher.
The security expense records also show that $6,786 was spent to install a card reader in the security detail office and to connect a panic alarm from Pruitt’s office to sound in their office.
At some point, someone is going to have to rein Pruitt in. Either that or expect the EPA head to show up at his next congressional hearing dripping in diamonds.