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EPA: Pruitt spent $3.5M on security in 2017 due to 'threats'

By Ed Adamczyk
EPA: Pruitt spent $3.5M on security in 2017 due to 'threats'
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, pictured testifying before a congressional subcommittee on April 26, spent $3.5 million on personal security in his first year leading the agency, a government report said Friday. File Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

May 25 (UPI) -- Scott Pruitt spent nearly $3.5 million on security in his first year as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, a government breakdown said Friday.

The EPA released the cost breakdown, titled "Administrator's Security Detail Quarterly Payroll," which detailed only the cost per quarter of Pruitt's security. It did not provide information on how the money was spent.

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The last EPA chief in the Obama administration, Gina McCarthy, spent $1.6 million on security in 2016, the agency noted.

Pruitt has an around-the-clock security detail and has taken trips abroad to Morocco and Italy, as well as Disneyland and the Super Bowl as EPA chief.

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The agency has insisted the increased security is needed due of increased threats against Pruitt.

An internal EPA document said the funding included at least $9,600 to decorate Pruitt's office with Smithsonian Institution artwork, a refurbished desk and other items, The Hill reported. Other internal documents indicate the Trump administration reinforced Pruitt's security during the transition last year over Pruitt's planned loosening of EPA regulations and the public outcry it was expected to cause.

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"Pruitt has faced an unprecedented amount of death threats against him and to provide transparency EPA will post the costs of his security detail and pro-actively release these numbers on a quarterly basis," agency spokesman Jahan Wilcox said in a statement. "Americans should all agree that members of the President's cabinet should be kept safe from violent threats."

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In congressional testimony in March, Pruitt glossed over the expenditures, which included $43,000 for a soundproof telephone booth in his office.

"I recognize there have been very troubling media reports over the past few weeks. I, more than anyone, want to establish the hard facts and provide answers to questions surrounding these reports," Pruitt said. "Let me be very clear, I have nothing to hide."

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