Speed Reads

Things that make you go hmmm

EPA chief Scott Pruitt somehow managed to spend $1,641 to fly from Washington, D.C., to New York City

The latest member of President Trump's Cabinet to draw scrutiny over his travel is Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, who somehow managed to spend $1,641 for a first-class ticket to travel the 200 miles between Washington, D.C., and New York City, The Washington Post reports. In the same week, in June of last year, Pruitt also spent $36,068 to travel from Cincinnati to New York on a military jet, in order to catch a round-trip flight to Rome that cost him $7,003.

The flight to Rome, which can often be found for a few hundred dollars, cost Pruitt "several times what was paid for other officials who went," The Washington Post reports, and the EPA documents "do not explain the discrepancy."

In total, Pruitt and his aides spent some $90,000 in taxpayer dollars on travel during just a few weeks in early June, documents show. Pruitt often justifies flying first or business class, and the EPA rarely releases his schedule, because of unspecified "security concerns." Pruitt additionally has a 24/7 security detail, the cost of which has not been revealed publicly.

Trump's former health secretary, Tom Price, ultimately resigned after racking up $500,000 in charter flights. The Treasury Department inspector general found that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's seven flights on military planes were all legally approved but suggested that the $811,798 cost to taxpayers was poorly justified. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's travels also flagged attention after he chartered an oil executive's private plane, costing taxpayers more than $12,000.

EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman confirmed to the Post that Pruitt's travel was all approved. "He's trying to further positive environmental outcomes and achieve tangible environmental results," she said.