Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt was granted around-the-clock security starting his first day on the job after he personally requested it, new documents reveal.
EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins said in a letter to senators on Monday that Pruitt requested 24/7 protection “once he was confirmed as Administrator.” Don Benton, then a senior White House adviser supervising the EPA, also asked for around-the-clock security for Pruitt for at least his first week on the job, according to emails obtained by The Washington Post.
“There will be several Executive Orders signed when [Pruitt] is sworn in that will likely stir the hornets nest and with the security issue in the Atlanta office last week as well as the lady who threatened former administrator [Gina] McCarthy not showing up for court and at large in DC it is best to be on the safe side,” Benton wrote on Feb. 12, 2017.
The EPA in the past has justified Pruitt’s security expenses as necessary because of a sharp uptick in threats against him, including what a spokesman referred to as “an unprecedented amount of death threats.” Pruitt reportedly was “approached at the airport numerous times, to the point of profanities being yelled at him.”
The agency hadn’t before revealed that Pruitt’s extensive security began his first day on the job.
Pruitt’s enhanced security detail, three times the size of his predecessor, has cost taxpayers almost $3 million, The Associated Press reported last month. The hefty price, along with Pruitt’s lavish spending on worldwide travel and his ethical lapses, have kept him under a cloud of controversy.