According to a report by an independent non-profit environmental watchdog group, Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt spent nearly half of his time between March and May traveling to or from Oklahoma, the state he recently served as Attorney General before joining the Trump Administration.
The report, compiled by the Environmental Integrity Project (a group founded by former EPA officials), used information from a Freedom of Information Act request and found that Pruitt’s calendar and travel expenses saw him in Oklahoma or traveling to or from the state during 43 out of 92 days. However, the group also claims that the $12,000 in taxpayer-funded airfare Pruitt filed for is improper.
The report comes at a time when many are speculating that Pruitt will again seek state-wide office in Oklahoma after he was elected as Attorney General in 2010. An EPA spokesperson told the New York Times that all of Pruitt’s travel was related to agency business:
For all but one trip, Mr. Pruitt’s schedule notes an official reason for being in the state, like a tour he took in May of the Brainerd Chemical Company in Tulsa or a tour a week later of a contaminated creek in Osage County. In some cases, Mr. Pruitt also paid a portion of the travel costs. When he made a three-day stop in Oklahoma after a speaking engagement in Houston, for example, Mr. Pruitt paid for travel between Houston and Tulsa. The E.P.A. picked up the rest of the airfare, according to the voucher documents.
According to the documents, Pruitt’s calendar says, “He typically spends three to five days in the state but often lists just one official meeting.”
Pruitt’s travel might be related to his family still living in Oklahoma. Former EPA head Gina McCarthy, who served under President Obama, was known to travel (on her own dime) to the Boston area to see her family. McCarthy’s predecessor, Lisa Jackson, moved her family to Washington during her tenure to avoid the issue.