Security measures strengthen surrounding the Environmental Protection Agency’s Administrator Scott Pruitt to an unheard-of level, causing some members of Congress to believe this may be an “abuse of taxpayer money.”
A source familiar with the matter said Pruitt’s security is currently expanding, with about a dozen new agents expected to be hired, following the increased number of threats made against Pruitt. The agents will provide the agency leader with 24/7 protection, something which none of the previous administrators had ever done.
The CNN reports that the salaries for the entire team are likely to add up to $2 million a year, based on figures from public documents. These costs exclude training and equipment expenditures.
This rise in the agency’s spending follows plans by the Trump administration to cut EPA’s budget by 30 percent which would include cuts to its enforcement work and number of employees. In June, Pruitt said they “can fulfill the mission of our agency with a trimmed budget, with proper leadership and management.”
Up to now, EPA administrators have had smaller security arrangements compared to other Cabinet members and nowhere closer to Pruitt’s level of security. Former administrators were protected mainly when traveling.
The inspector general’s office, however, said that Pruitt and others in the agency have been threatened quite frequently. As a result, over 70 investigations into these threats have been launched by the office.
“We have at least four times — four to five times the number of threats against Mr. Pruitt than we had against Ms. McCarthy,” assistant inspector general Patrick Sullivan said. He added that the threats the EPA receives are largely a result of some people’s beliefs that the agency is not efficient enough in enforcing environmental laws and of others that they are enforcing too many environmental laws.
EPA spokeswoman, Liz Bowman said the agency refused to comment on the security measures taken to protect Pruitt.