EPA Administrator Faces Questions Over C-8 Report'

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

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 agency should have not done that", Pruitt said about the tweet. "These are cuts that I can not support", Murkowski said. "I want to rectify those going forward", Pruitt said.

"Oh, somebody might criticize you?"

Udall said Pruitt is the subject of 12 investigations, including five by the EPA's Office of Inspector General (IG). 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. The subcommittee's chairman, Sen.

"Those policies were followed to the best of my knowledge by the agents that served me", Pruitt said.

Mr. Pruitt said he didn't remember ever requesting his cars use emergency lights and sirens in nonemergency situations, one of the concerns raised by Democrats.

"It's my understanding that all activity there was on personal time, and the individual that you are referring to is a longtime friend of my wife, and myself", Pruitt said.

Time and again, Pruitt responded by claiming he either couldn't recall details or was unaware of decisions made by some of his closest aides.

"Then that's a gift that's in violation of federal law", Udall concluded.

In a February 2017 email released Wednesday by Democratic Sens.

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On Wednesday, Pruitt repeatedly dodged directly answering whether he requested the stepped-up security coverage, saying career EPA officials below him made the final decision. Perrotta has since resigned.

In terms of the FY2019 budget, many topics were line items dealing with matters that the senator felt related to Pruitt's past promises, stating "when you [Pruitt] were before the committee previous year, you said that you would work to return the EPA to its core mission of ensuring clean water, clean air, and clean land, something that we all encourage and support".

Mr. Udall said he has asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate whether the agency has violated a ban on political speech in government social media.

In a hearing in Washington, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who chairs the Senate subcommittee, told Pruitt she was concerned that "many of the important policy efforts that you are engaged in are being overshadowed because of a series of issues related to you and your management of the agency". "Did you pay them at the time for doing that work?"

"It's been set up", he said when a Democratic senator asked about its existence.

Some changes have been implemented at the EPA since some of the scandals broke, including the addition of a requirement that any spending over $5,000 needs to be signed off by several senior officials, Pruitt told the panel. "I'm anxious you are spending all of your time enriching yourself and your friends while betraying your mission to protect human health and the environment".

Pruitt is now under investigation for travel costs, pay raises for aides, and retaliation against whistle blowers among other allegations.

For his part, Pruitt took the same approach as he did in a pair of contentious House hearings last month, largely steering clear of addressing the dozen probes he is facing on topics such as the installation of a $43,000 soundproof phone booth in his office, a cut-rate condo rental from a lobbyist past year, and his domestic and global travel expenses.

Udall accused Pruitt of "treating [his] position of public trust as a golden ticket for extravagant travel and fine dining". A whistleblower said Pruitt lied about not retaliating against aides who questioned his decisions.

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