In interviews in recent days with conservative news outlets including Fox News and the Washington Examiner, Pruitt pushed back hard against accusations that his actions were unethical. They come as the embattled EPA leader fends off allegations of profligate spending and ethical missteps that have imperiled his job. When his lead security agent refused the request, explaining that he couldn't use them unless there was an emergency, the EPA reassigned him, CBS reported.
Pruitt visited the White House to discuss his agency's recent steps to roll back vehicle fuel efficiency standards implemented under former President Barack Obama, but he also fought for his job in his meeting with the president, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity to describe sensitive internal discussions. The EPA official spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly reportedly told Trump last week to let Pruitt go.
Only later did she learn other details from news reports. There is ample security in most government buildings. The demands of providing 24-hour coverage even meant taking some investigators away from field work, such as when Pruitt traveled to California for a family vacation.
"Vicki Hart is the sole owner of this unit", EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said, when asked about the lease change. EPA's press office did not respond Friday to provide details of any specific threats or arrests. In one incident, someone yelled a profanity as he walked through the airport.
The rental deal has come under intense scrutiny because Hart's husband, J. Steven Hart, is chairman of the firm Williams & Jensen, which lobbies on energy issues along with other matters.
Pruitt has been dogged by a series of scandals in recent weeks, including revelations that he rented a condominium co-owned by the wife of an energy lobbyist for $50 per night; that he spent more than $100,000 on taxpayer-funded first-class travel, which the EPA has argued was necessary because of security concerns; and that the agency sidelined or demoted at least five high-ranking agency employees who had raised questions about his spending.
Kelly and other White House aides are frustrated by the steady drip of negative press Pruitt is attracting over a seemingly below-market lease on an apartment owned by the wife of a leading lobbyist; reports that he instructed his security detail to use emergency lights and sirens to beat traffic; and the continuing fallout from his use of private and first-class air travel past year.
On Thursday, President Donald Trump told reporters he still had confidence in Pruitt, called him "a good man" and said the EPA chief was doing a good job in his post.
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Letcher said the event was made possible through donations from the community and from last year's Halloween festival. Silas had also enjoyed the craft portion of the event, quick to point out two colorful eggs, still wet with paint.
A review of Pruitt's ethical conduct by White House officials is underway, adding to probes by congressional oversight committees and the EPA's inspector general.
Pruitt, 49, was closely aligned with the oil and gas industry as Oklahoma's state attorney general before being tapped by Trump.
Pruitt also has championed budget cuts and staff reductions at the agency so deep that even Republican budget hawks in Congress won't implement them.
New details in Pruitt's expansive spending for security and travel emerged from agency sources and documents reviewed by the wire service. Chmielewski is on leave without pay, Reeder is on an "executive in residence" fellowship at American University, and Weese is no longer the head of Pruitt's security detail. She flew coach and was not accompanied by security during her off hours.
And in February, Pruitt drew criticism after it was revealed he and his aides spent more than $90,000 for trips in early June and another $15,000 to fly home during the weekends to Oklahoma between March and May of 2017. He visited the U.S. Embassy in Rome and took a private tour of the Vatican before briefly attending a meeting of G-7 environmental ministers in Bologna.
And speaking of Pruitt's security, the EPA director has also installed a soundproof phone booth in his office that cost close to $43,000, had biometric locks put in his office that cost over $5,000 and had his office swept for concealed listening devices for $3,000. Kelly and other White House aides are frustrated by the steady drip of negative press Pruitt is attracting over a seemingly below-market lease on an apartment owned by the wife of a leading lobbyist, reports that he instructed his security detail to use emergency lights and sirens to beat traffic, and the continuing fallout from using private and first-class air travel a year ago.
According to the San Francisco Gate and Business Insider, in recent weeks, Pruitt requested a $100,000-per-month private jet membership, a bulletproof auto and about $70,000 worth of bulletproof furniture-those requests were denied.