In a series of tweets, Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel explained why the media freakout over Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s travel expenses is a bunch of hooey.
In the past week, multiple media outlets have published pieces freaking outover Pruitt’s travel expenses after it was discovered the EPA administrator flew first class on the taxpayer’s dime as a security precaution after he received multiple death threats. In a column for The Washington Post, Hillary Clinton’s longtime lackey John Podesta wrote that “Scott Pruitt Needs To Go.”
“Pruitt was forced to release documents indicating that he spent more than $105,000 on first-class flights in his first year at the EPA alone,” Podesta writes. “The Post recently reported that one week’s worth of travel in June 2017 by Pruitt and his staff cost about $120,000, which the EPA inspector general is investigating.”
As The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway explained in a column yesterday, the media-invented scandal surrounding Pruitt’s travel expenses is largely manufactured garbage. You can read that in full here.
In a series of tweets, Strassel also explained that the travel costs of Pruitt and his staff are not unprecedented and that previous EPA heads actually spent more.
1/ Mr. Eisen, actually, no. Wrong on all counts.
Pruitt travel/security costs for 2017: $160k
Gina McCarthy travel/security costs for 2013-16: $630k
Lisa Jackson travel/security costs for 2009-12: $332k
Coming up next, the breakout for their trips… https://twitter.com/NormEisen/status/981300747198484481 …
2/ Pruitt in 2017:
–G7 Summit in Italy: $84k
McCarthy in 2016
McCarthy in 2015
–Italy: 56k (a trip that, like Pruitt, involved a private tour of Vatican)
3/ McCarthy in 2014
–Vancouver: 62k (btw, it’s impressive to spend that much just getting to Canada)
McCarthy in 2013
Jackson in 2012
Jackson in 2011
–Rio De Janeiro: 60k
–China: 156k (wow).
She also reiterated the statement from EPA ethics official Kevin Minoli dated March 30, which said Pruitt didn’t violate any laws or ethics rules when he stayed at a condo owned by environmental lobbyists.
“Therefore, entering into the lease was consistent with federal ethics regulations regarding gifts, and use of the property in accordance with the lease agreement did not constitute a gift a defined in those regulations.”
And you are welcome, for all these facts.
4/ Meanwhile, here is the direct quote from memo issued from EPA principal deputy general counsel Kevin Minoli on March 30:
“the Ethics Office [staffed by career officials] reviewed the lease agreement . . . Under the terms of the lease, if the space was utilized for one 30-day month, then the rental cost would be $1500, which is a reasonable market value.” And more: