Senate hearing focuses on EPA Pruitt's spending

Pruitt requested 24/7 security on day one at EPA, internal watchdog says

Pruitt requested 24/7 security on day one at EPA, internal watchdog says

During his third congressional hearing since late April, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt dodged criticism from senators and declined to take full responsibility for the growing number of scandals circling his office. Patrick Leahy of Vermont called his regulatory rollbacks and ethical controversies "unconscionable", and Tom Udall of New Mexico said his tenure at the EPA was "a betrayal of the American people".

Scott Pruitt, the embattled administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, vehemently defended himself while facing tough questions about his spending and alleged ethical transgressions at a Capitol Hill hearing Wednesday. The meeting was purportedly meant to continue a discussion regarding the EPA's 2019 budget but much of the two hour hearing focused instead on Pruitt's actions as administrator.

"I'm being asked, really constantly asked, to comment on housing and security and travel", began Sen.

However, the entirety of the hearing wasn't congratulatory on Murkowski's part. "Instead of seeing articles about efforts to return your agency to its core mission, I'm reading articles about your interactions with the industries that you regulate". Udall submitted for the record on an email released on Wednesday by Pruitt's former security chief Nino Perrotta, who left the agency weeks ago.

But Pruitt declined to issue an apology or an explanation for the controversies dogging his office.

Udall said he had asked the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office to investigate the EPA's use of social media to send a politically driven Tweet.

"The individual that you're referring to is a longtime friend of my wife and myself", Pruitt said, explaining that Millan Hupp, a top scheduling aide, had searched for apartments for the EPA chief on her own time. But in April, Williams & Jensen disclosed that Hart had in fact met with Pruitt during the duration of the condo deal to lobby on behalf of Smithfield Foods.

And in 2017, Pruitt met with Hart in person, along with a former executive at Smithfield Foods who now sits on the board of the Smithfield Foundation, the company's charitable arm.

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I don't think we're necessarily struggling in the front or the rear but overall downforce is always good. "I don't know", he said. What the engineers could have done better or different, so everyone was involved in the process.

"Then that's a gift, that's a violation of federal law", Udall said, noting that subordinates of federal officials are prohibited from providing free services to their bosses. "I want to rectify those going forward". This included a $43,000 soundproof phone booth. This year more than 70 employees have requested and been granted a filing extension.

Pruitt's travel has also drawn scrutiny from lawmakers. Although Pruitt now flies coach, he booked first-class seats in commercial aircraft during most trips past year, with the EPA justifying the practice on security grounds.

Industry lobbyists helped plan two overseas trips for Pruitt, including a visit to Morocco and another to Australia that was canceled due to hurricanes.

Two of Pruitt's toughest critics - Sens.

Pruitt again answered that the "policies were followed to the best of my knowledge" as he said he didn't recall ordering the lights and sirens to be used.

Several Republican lawmakers offered Pruitt a more sympathetic ear on Wednesday. Such decisions had made Pruitt and the EPA "a laughingstock", he added. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) told the official. The tweet potentially violated federal anti-propaganda rules.

Public financial disclosure forms show that Gina McCarthyRegina (Gina) McCarthyPruitt's 24/7 security requested over fears of Trump policy backlash EPA documents detail threats against Pruitt Fuel economy: California's empty suit MORE, an EPA administrator during the Obama administration, utilized a 90 day extension for her 2015 disclosure.

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