Documentation of Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt's travel expenses paints an unfortunate picture for U.S. taxpayers: just one trip to Italy last year cost Americans $120,000.
Records obtained by the Environmental Integrity Project under the Freedom of Information Act show that Pruitt's fondness of flying business class and first class has cost American taxpayers a pretty penny.
The headlines alone paint a grim picture: The Daily Beast reported that Pruitt has spent $105,000 on first class flights since taking on his EPA role. The Associated Press pointed out that his trip to Italy last summer cost more than $120,000 in taxpayer money. The trip, which occurred from June 5-12, included a meeting of G-7 ministers and a private tour of the Vatican. Pruitt’s security detail during the trip cost more than $30,000, The Washington Post noted.
The EPA has explained Pruitt's travel habits as necessary for security purposes, telling the House Oversight Committee Tuesday that,
Pruitt “has had significantly more threats directed against him.” As a result, Pruitt’s security detail “shifted his class based on certain security protocols that require him to be near the front of the plane.”
The agency gave a similar rationale in response to questions from the Associated Press, saying that security precautions during Pruitt's Italy trip were essentially the same as those taken with past EPA administrators.
HuffPost notes that Pruitt is not the only top level official to come under fire for his travel expenses:
Pruitt isn’t the only member of President Donald Trump’s administration with hefty travel bills. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s costly travel made headlines last year when he managed to cost American taxpayers more than $800,000 for travel aboard military aircraft in a matter of months.