Trump’s EPA Chief Investigated For Taking Weekend Trips Home

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Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks during an interview for Reuters at his office in Washington, U.S., July 10, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

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Michael Bastasch

4:28 PM 08/28/2017

From The Daily Caller

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) inspector general has opened an investigation to see whether or not taxpayers footed the bill for Administrator Scott Pruitt’s trips home to Oklahoma.

“This assignment is being initiated based on congressional requests and a hotline complaint, all of which expressed concerns about Administrator Pruitt’s travel — primarily his frequent travel to and from his home state of Oklahoma at taxpayer expense,” reads a notification that the IG’s office posted online Monday.

Democrats on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, along with environmental activists, asked the IG’s office to investigate Pruitt’s trips home.

Investigators “will review supporting documentation and conduct interviews with management and staff to determine whether the EPA followed applicable policies and practices, and complied with federal requirements,” according to the notification.

The requests were based on earlier reports Pruitt was in Oklahoma at least 43 of the 92 days in the spring, which coincided with events held by conservative groups.

The EPA pushed back on those reports, saying most of those days out of town were on weekends, and Pruitt returned to Washington, D.C. for work on Mondays. The agency said that Pruitt went home on his own time and not at taxpayer expense.

Democrats and environmental activists have long raised ethical questions about Pruitt’s leadership at the EPA, starting with his time as attorney general of Oklahoma. Pruitt critics have honed in on a 2014 New York Times article on Pruitt’s ties to the energy industry.

Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy traveled home to Boston nearly every weekend while heading the agency during the latter half of the Obama administration. The IG’s office did not launch an investigation into McCarthy’s travel — at least not publicly.

The EPA published details of McCarthy’s schedule in 2014, including the fact she “travels back to Boston, to her home and her husband” almost every weekend. McCarthy’s former spokeswoman told Reuters that she “fit travel home into her personal time.”

“Administrator Pruitt is traveling the country to hear directly from the people impacted by EPA’s regulations outside of the Washington bubble. This is nothing more than a distraction from the Administrator’s significant environmental accomplishments,” EPA spokeswoman Amy Graham said in a statement.

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August 29, 2017 3:22 pm

No shortage of witch hunters in the Washington Swamp.
Fictional heating. Fictional “offenses”. Is there anything real in D.C. Politics?

Reply to  E.M.Smith
August 29, 2017 3:23 pm

Only the hate and bitterness.

Reply to  E.M.Smith
August 29, 2017 3:40 pm

The cost thereof.

August 29, 2017 3:27 pm

Just more swamp critter bellowing. Will amount to nothing based on Gina McCarthy precedent.

Mickey Reno
Reply to  ristvan
August 31, 2017 1:04 am

If the entire EPA budget went to Pruitt’s travel bill, I’d be happy.

Janice Moore
August 29, 2017 3:30 pm
One swift kick with:
went home on his own time and not at taxpayer expense
will take care of the heel nippers.
And on down the road Mr. Pruitt will stride — getting something done for America.

Reply to  Janice Moore
August 30, 2017 6:32 am

You nailed it, Janice.

Bruce Cobb
August 29, 2017 3:31 pm

By my estimation, only about 26 days out of the 43 would be weekend days, leaving about 17 unaccounted for. Perhaps there is a logical explanation for it, but I say let the chips fall.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
August 29, 2017 3:41 pm

I myself would see if the duties of the office would fit into a 4/10s schedule. Which then gives him 13 additional free days. Now you only have 4 left. But see above with regard to his predecessor…

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
August 29, 2017 4:26 pm

So, if you leave the office at 1:00pm on Friday, and fly back on the 6:00am flight Monday getting in at about noon, have you used 2 days, or 4?

Janice The American Elder
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
August 29, 2017 8:14 pm

Bruce, there are also the federal holidays, which often given an extended weekend. I sometimes will add in a vacation day to a long weekend, to make it an even longer weekend. All quite legal.

August 29, 2017 3:35 pm

the fanatics who deeply hate Trump on the grounds that he stands for hate don’t seem to have a sense of irony

Reply to  joe
August 29, 2017 4:47 pm

Declare that the first amendment does not cover hate speech, then declare that everything you disagree with is hate speech. The liberal way.

Reply to  MarkW
August 29, 2017 8:39 pm

‘Hate Speech’ is the ‘Assault Weapon’ of the first amendment.

NW sage
Reply to  joe
August 29, 2017 5:39 pm

Their ‘irony’ button is missing!

Rhoda R
Reply to  NW sage
August 29, 2017 8:04 pm

No. It has been deliberately disconnected.

Ben Gunn
August 29, 2017 3:40 pm

maybe he needs to get away for his own sanity.

Reply to  Ben Gunn
August 29, 2017 4:02 pm

Ben Gunn,
Plus shedloads.
An very reasonable suggestion, I imagine.
* I have never worked in Washington – thank goodness.

Reply to  Auto
August 29, 2017 7:18 pm

I have – and do. Trust me – mental health day every once in a while is mandatory if you want to retain your sanity.

Reply to  Ben Gunn
August 29, 2017 7:38 pm

Not everything the administrator does has to be done in DC. There are things to be read, things to be written, phone calls to be made that do not depend on location.

Carbon BIgfoot
Reply to  Ben Gunn
August 30, 2017 6:29 am

Jay Lehr, Heartland’s Science Director in his reorg of the EPA suggested a relocation of the agency to Topeka, Kansas the geographic center of our Great Nation—placing a minimum of elite environmentalists in the middle of the populace they are to serve. All States retain their local agencies with a Committee of the Whole organization. See for other details.
Solves the travel issue for Pruitt.

August 29, 2017 4:17 pm

Quid pro quo
But they won’t let sleeping dogs lie in their haste.
It’s seems yet another distraction, another protracted investigation, another foot on the brake of progress by the green machine.
And they will sacrifice their own at the alter of the climate change beast.
Have they no honour?
Errrr…..stupid question really.

August 29, 2017 4:19 pm

This seems to be another baby hunt. How many baby trials have Democrats held to date?
That said, to their credit, Democrats make aggressive Choices and follow through to their final conclusion.

Michael Jankowski
August 29, 2017 4:28 pm

I wonder what Gavin’s taxpayer-funded salary while working on RealClimate is up to by now.

Louis Hooffstetter
Reply to  Michael Jankowski
August 29, 2017 7:17 pm


Henry chance
August 29, 2017 4:34 pm

Oklahoma is part of his “territory”
The trend to virtual office. He is of course a lawyer and when they are in court, they are also out of the office for as much as weeks.
Pelosi travel expense account:
“Overall, according to documents uncovered by Judicial Watch in January 2011, Pelosi used the Air Force aircraft for a total of 43 trips, covering 90,155 miles, from January 1 through October 1, 2010. Judicial Watch, through FOIA, continues to pursue other records related to Pelosi’s use of Air Force aircraft.Previous documents obtained by Judicial Watch show the former Speaker’s military travel cost the USAF $2,100,744.59 over one two-year period — $101,429.14 of which was for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol. For example, purchases for one Pelosi-led congressional delegation traveling from Washington, DC, through Tel Aviv, Israel to Baghdad, Iraq May 15-20, 2008 included: Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Bailey’s Irish Crème, Maker’s Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewars scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey, Corona beer and several bottles of wine.”
The number I saw yesterday was $12,000 for Administrator Pruitt.

Reply to  Henry chance
August 29, 2017 4:49 pm

The FBI has “discovered” a new exemption to the FOIA. It’s the “the public doesn’t care about this issue” exemption. They have recently used this new found exemption to justify refusing to hand over documents related to the Hillary e-mail server investigation.

sy computing
Reply to  MarkW
August 29, 2017 7:36 pm

I saw that headline as well. It would seem there’s room to quibble…rather than a “public doesn’t care” exemption, it would appear the argument is that releasing the requested documentation doesn’t serve the public interest over and above that of the private interest of the requester:
“You have not sufficiently demonstrated that the public’s interest in disclosure outweighs personal privacy interests of the subject,” FBI records management section chief David M. Hardy told Mr. Clevenger in a letter Monday.
“It is incumbent upon the requester to provide documentation regarding the public’s interest in the operations and activities of the government before records can be processed pursuant to the FOIA,” Mr. Hardy wrote.
I’m not defending the decision of the government, rather, I could probably be persuaded to become even more astounded at this rather than the first argument. But it looks like maybe it’s more of a badly worded response rather than the “horror” upon which the headline writers are trying to get us to click.

Rhoda R
Reply to  MarkW
August 29, 2017 8:09 pm

I’d like to see where that particular exemption is stated in the FOIA laws. I don’t seem to remember it.

Reply to  MarkW
August 30, 2017 6:41 am

“The FBI has “discovered” a new exemption to the FOIA. It’s the “the public doesn’t care about this issue” exemption”
I think Trump needs to focus on cleaning up the swamp in the FBI. The Obama administration is still running things behind the scenes.
There is no legal justification for this ruling. I’m a person of the United States. I’m interested in Hillary’s emails. Therefore, their “reason” does not represent the facts when they claim the U.S. public doesn’t care about Hillary’s emails.
I heard Jason Chaffetz say this morning that the FBI even ignores subpeonas from Congress.
This is obstruction of justice by the FBI. Where’s the Attorney General?

August 29, 2017 4:38 pm

How do you “hone in”? I see this so often I do not think it is a typo. Just puzzled.

Reply to  Matt
August 29, 2017 5:12 pm

it’s common among those who talk much but read little.

Reply to  Matt
August 29, 2017 5:50 pm

Merriam-Webster Dictionary: “Most usage commentators consider hone in to be a mistake for home in. The use may have arisen from home in by the weakening of the \m\ sound to \n\ or it may have developed simply because of the influence of hone, with perhaps an underlying sense that “honing” figuratively involves a narrowing or sharpening of focus. Whatever the explanation of its origins, it has established itself in American English and has begun to make a few inroads into British English as well. Even so, your use of it especially in writing is likely to be called a mistake. Home in or in figurative use zero in is an easy alternative.”

Sceptical lefty
Reply to  Ricdre
August 29, 2017 7:54 pm

It’s a bit like “careening” down a hill, instead of “careering.” If enough people use really bad English it becomes good English. Painful for purists.

Reply to  Ricdre
August 29, 2017 10:22 pm

Are there honing pigeons?

Reply to  Ricdre
August 30, 2017 7:04 am

How do you hone a pigeon?
With a grind stone of course.

August 29, 2017 4:45 pm

The same media couldn’t care less when one of Obama’s appointees flew home to California every weekend.

August 29, 2017 5:13 pm

Gee I wonder why I left the liberal camp 25 years ago.

Clay Sanborn
August 29, 2017 5:40 pm

Fire everyone in the EPA, and then shut the EPA down. Lots of taxpayer $$ saved. Move on to the next agency…

Reply to  Clay Sanborn
August 29, 2017 6:06 pm

Repeal all civil service protection acts and return to the original “spoils system” of unrestricted hire-and-fire. Long-term bureaucratic corruption can’t take root when the whole system stands to be flushed every 4 years. Now you know the real reason the 19th century Progressives called for civil service reform. In the name of reducing corruption, no less. 😐

Reply to  drednicolson
August 29, 2017 6:48 pm

SAIC (no longer run by ‘the employee’ and hence no longer SAIC and no longer named SAIC or run like SAIC) used to form ad-hoc divisions to pursue contracts, then dissolve them when the project was over. Most technical employees were recruited into new groups for new contracts, but middle management was kept scrambling to get in. It didn’t stop creeping bureaucracy, but the constant pruning did keep it in check. Once Dr. Beyster retired, the new heads did away with most of the unique features of the company, it’s now just another Beltway Bandit.

Reply to  drednicolson
August 29, 2017 7:21 pm

: SAIC was, is now, and always will be a “beltway bandit”.

August 29, 2017 6:40 pm

Shades of Mike Duffy. He is an appointed member of the Canadian senate. His expenses were a problem for the Conservative government of Steven Harper who did his usual thing and tried to throw Duffy under the bus. Criminal charges were laid. It went to court. Duffy was acquitted on all counts. The judge hinted that, if anyone belonged in jail, it might be Harper. link
Wild accusations sometimes have a way of backfiring. One could make the argument that Duffy cost Harper the election.

August 29, 2017 7:04 pm

Does this mean that all the members of Congress who have used US military and USG civilian transport for their personal trips will be prosecuted? Pelosi? Kennedy? Biden? Obama? Reagan? Carter? Reid? The list is endlessly never ending. Not to mention all the hired and appointed USG employees who have and DO use USG transport daily. Let the prosecutions begin!!!!!!!!!!!!

August 29, 2017 7:35 pm

Man, the left these days reminds me of a 10 year old tattletale kid that sticks their tongue out you. Left with no real arguments they are left with out of context sound bites as their only ‘news’. I don’t watch the news anymore. I only turn it on when the stock market goes up or down more than a couple hundred points to see what the cause might have been.

Claude Harvey
August 29, 2017 7:57 pm

High level executives both inside and outside the government do not typically “punch a clock”. Although many of them remain chained to their desks for incredible hours even though they aren’t paid by the hour, most do so for fear if they leave of any length of time, their desks won’t be there when they return. Many private companies even grant unlimited and untracked personal time away for top executives under a system executives jokingly call the “take it if you dare” program. They are paid, at least in theory, for results…period.

Roger Knights
August 29, 2017 8:23 pm

I’ve read that the average congresscritter works a four-day week, so congress can’t really operate on Fridays.

Reply to  Roger Knights
August 30, 2017 6:49 am

Congress is going to work 12 whole days in September, and then they are going home and we won’t see them again until next year.
They have a lot to do it 12 days.

Reply to  Roger Knights
August 30, 2017 6:49 am

Congress is going to work 12 whole days in September, and then they are going home and we won’t see them again until next year.
They have a lot to do in 12 days.

Joel Snider
August 30, 2017 9:10 am

Boy, who could have possibly seen THIS coming?
Just imagine the squawks of outrage if the Progressive Left’s opponents utilized the same tactics.

Tom O
August 30, 2017 10:57 am

And I don’t recall any complaints or investigations into Pelosi’s weekly trips home while Speaker of the House, even though she constantly complained that the airplane provided for the Speaker’s travel wasn’t good enough. Different strokes, I guess.

Joel Snider
Reply to  Tom O
August 30, 2017 12:15 pm

It’s hypocrisy that is as absolute as it is without fail.

Non Nomen
August 30, 2017 12:34 pm

Now, as the opposing forces made clear that they want to kill him politically, it turns out more and more that he must be doing his job properly and successfully. Else they wouldn’t try to haunt and oust him. Stand your ground, Mr Pruitt!

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