The Trump EPA has certainly gone out of its way to protect Scott Pruitt.
The EPA official said total security costs approached $3 million when pay is added to travel expenses.
EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said late Friday that Pruitt has faced an “unprecedented” amount of death threats against him and his family.
That’s quite an expenditure. And “unprecedented” death threats would seem to demand unprecedented documentation. After all, serious threats demand a follow up. So … just how many investigations has the EPA opened into threats against Scott Pruitt?
Three. The answer would be three. And the nature of those “threats” is simply unbelievable.
Buzzfeed has been successful in prying another 57 pages of documents away from the EPA using a FOIA request. These documents represent the actual threats against Pruitt, the ones used to justify his $2 million a year personal security force, his security system inside a security system, his bulletproof everything, and his need to charter military jets and grab a spot in the first class cabin so he never has to sit next to the public.
One of the threats, made in March, consisted of someone drawing a mustache on Pruitt’s face on the cover of Newsweek and taping the magazine inside of an elevator at an EPA building. The case was closed due to a lack of an “overt threat” against Pruitt. …
Another incident characterized as a threat was made on November 8, 2017, by an 85-year-old who sent a letter to the agency on the back of Department of Veterans Affairs letterhead that was riddled with expletives.
If those sound like trivial events, they would be—except that that’s two-thirds of the threats against Pruitt. A third “threat” may have been more serious, but it was also followed up and closed for lack of evidence. These are the events that were used to justify what’s really, really “unprecendented”—Scott Pruitt’s lavish spending and hiding of his actions.
That’s every single threat against Pruitt that has warranted investigation. When someone is adding up the cost of his security again, please calculate in the unbelievable idea that the EPA spent money trying to track down someone who drew a mustache on Scott Pruitt’s picture.
That the investigation into the mustache incident was closed isn’t surprising. That there was an investigation to begin with really, really should be surprising. But it fits all too well with the level of privilege and paranoia demonstrated by Pruitt, and it fits into the narrative that had previously suggested as “threats” such items as people protesting Pruitt’s policies and a postcard saying “Climate change is real.”
Democratic Senators Tom Carper (RI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (DE), had previously made public their surprise at how little was behind Pruitt’s spending spree.
“It is hard to reconcile the public statements of EPA, and the President, with these internal and external assessments. It may be that the materials we have been provided are incomplete and that EPA has additional information that justifies its public position. However, another view is that certain factions within EPA have justified the exorbitant taxpayer spending incurred by the Administrator’s 1st-class travel and large entourage of security personnel through unsubstantiated claims about threats to his security, either at the direction of the Administrator himself or others in the agency. Either way. the EPW Committee has a responsibility to look into these matters.”
It was the second one, senators. Exorbitant spending. Unsubstantiated claims.
This is it. This is it. That’s the “unprecedented level” of threat that Pruitt is facing. The terrible danger that he’s in. There were only three threats that warranted investigation, and those investigations were closed more than a year ago. And still Scott Pruitt went on grabbing up military planes just to get him to New York faster so he could then take a first class trip to Rome—at the request of a lobbyist.
Pruitt’s spending and behavior has been challenged inside the agency. And he’s taken revenge on those who spoke up. That includes replacing the previous head of security when that person refused to illegally use sirens and lights to help Pruitt get across town faster.
Special Agent Eric Weese, a 16-year veteran of the EPA, was replaced by Pasquale “Nino” Perotta. Perrotta now leads Pruitt’s unprecedented 24-hour Protective Service Detail, which determined that Pruitt needed to fly in first class because of “specific, ongoing threats associated with the Administrator’s air travel.”
And now even Perotta is gone—the latest fall guy in Pruitt’s efforts to blame everything he’s spent, said, and done on someone else.