Speed Reads

Things that make you go hmmm

Scott Pruitt's sketchy spending just got sketchier

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, who has been heavily criticized for enjoying luxury amenities on taxpayer dollars, went as far as to request to fly on an airline that wasn't on the government's approved list so he could rack up more frequent flier miles, Democrats claim in a new letter published Thursday.

The letter was written based on conversations with the former EPA deputy chief of staff, Kevin Chmielewski. Chmielewski was fired after he denied one of Pruitt's staffers a first-class trip to Morocco, citing federal guidelines, The New York Times reports.

Chmielewski additionally claims Pruitt would instruct his staff to "find me something to do" at locations he wanted to visit in order to "justify the use of taxpayer funds." In another instance, Chmielewski alleged that Pruitt refused to stay at hotels in Australia and Italy recommended by the U.S. Embassy and "chose to stay instead at more expensive hotels with fewer standard security resources" and bring his security team with him, also "at taxpayer expense."

The Democrats added that Chmielewski "informed us that emails, documents, and other records exist that will verify these events."

Separately, Pruitt is facing criticism over his taxpayer-funded first-class air travel and 24/7 security, sneaky raises for two favorite aides, and a sweetheart rental deal with the wife of a top energy and transportation lobbyist. (The Democrats note in their letter that Pruitt's daughter "damaged [their] hardwood floors by repeatedly rolling her luggage across the unit when she was staying" at the condo in question.) Read Matthew Walther on the "cartoon villainy" of Scott Pruitt here at The Week.