USA Weekly: Exclusive: EPA Chief’s Aides, Security Agents Made $45,000 Trip to Australia
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, under fire from lawmakers for travel and security expenses, spent about $45,000 in government money to fly five people to Australia to prepare for a planned trip that was later canceled.
Two of his aides and three security agents flew to Australia last August on business-class tickets costing roughly $9,000 each to set up meetings for the EPA administrator.
Larry Noble, former president of the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws representing government ethics administrators, questioned whether so many staffers were required for the advance team and said Pruitt’s credibility on the broader issue of spending taxpayer money was low.
“If he had a reputation for playing it by the book in every other instance, then you might not be concerned,” said Noble, senior director and general counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, which advocates government ethics reforms. “But when you see somebody who … seems to not be that concerned about the way he spends the money, then you question whether this was justified.”