Scott Pruitt's first-class flights cost taxpayers $105,000

Pruitt claimed he had flown first-class because of hecklers confronting him. Is that worth six figures?

Published March 21, 2018 11:52AM (EDT)

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

In his first year as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt racked up over $105,000 in first-class flight expenses.

Records from the EPA, turned over to the House Oversight Committee and obtained by Politico, showed that Pruitt is just the latest member of the Trump administration to come under the microscope about exorbitant flight fees on the taxpayers' dime.

Not included in the $105,000 total is the $58,000 Pruitt used "on charter flights and a military jet to carry him and his staff from an event with President Donald Trump in Cincinnati to catch a connecting flight to Europe out of New York," Politico reported.

Pruitt has been criticized in recent months after it was revealed that he didn't fly coach, something the EPA has defended as a result of security risks and because of hecklers at airports who have made Pruitt feel "unsafe," as Salon has previously reported. Following the revelation, Pruitt said he would no longer fly first class and was destined for coach, with the rest of the plebs.

Among his first-class endeavors, his $16,217 trip to Morocco in December proved to be the most costly, according to Politico. And part of that was because of an odd travel decision. Per Politico:

Pruitt missed a connecting flight and stayed overnight in Paris, and appears to have missed other two flights to Morocco before flying to Rabat on Monday, Dec. 11. He left the country two days later.

While there, the EPA brass "touted American natural gas exports."

But Pruitt was hardly the first Trump administration official to face this sort of scrutiny for taxpayer abuse, specifically in regards to expensive flights. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was revealed to have flown in government helicopters on short trips, one of which was to ride horses with Vice President Mike Pence. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned last September after it came out that he cost taxpayers $1 million after he used private jets to fly to both business meetings and extravagant trips.

Even first lady Melania Trump has come under fire, for 21 flights over the course of three months from New York to Washington that cost more than $675,000.

The president, of course, built his campaign around the idea that he was a champion of the American worker. Trump himself has abused taxpayer funds as well and has spent 96 days at his own golf courses since being elected.

By Charlie May

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