Costs include $10,067 for Drivers and a Motorcade; and $5,841 to House the Drivers in a Five-Star Hotel in Rome
Washington, D.C. – EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s trip to Italy in June 2017 cost taxpayers $164,200, a third more than previously reported, and included $10,067 for a motorcade and $5,841 to house the drivers in a five-star hotel in Rome, according to EPA records obtained by the Environmental Integrity Project.
The additional travel expenses come on top of a report issued by the EPA Office of Inspector General yesterday that found that security spending under Pruitt more than doubled to $3.5 million, including for an expanded, 24/7 security detail that was not justified. Pruitt resigned amid multiple federal investigations in July.
“These new details about Scott Pruitt’s mismanagement and runaway spending show that he was abusing taxpayers even as he damaged their health by rolling back environmental regulations,” said Eric Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP).
Overall, EPA records obtained by EIP through Freedom of Information Act lawsuits show that Pruitt spent at least $4.6 million from February of 2017 through March of 2018 for travel, security and miscellaneous office expenses.
This amount includes not only the $3.5 million spent on Pruitt’s security detail reported by the EPA Office of Inspector General yesterday (for a shorter time period, February 2017 through December, 2017), but also $182,716 spent on Pruitt’s travel, $42,729 spent on a soundproof phone booth in Pruitt’s office, $9,600 in office furniture upgrades, $5,657 for a biometric lock, a $3,000 sweep for electronic bugs, $3,230 for personalized pens and journals, and $2,460 to replace a smashed apartment door, among other costs.
Overall, that $4.6 million spent by Pruitt – including travel and security – is more than EPA spends on several important programs that protect the environment and public health, according to the federal budget.
For example, EPA in 2018 is spending $3.5 million researching drinking water contaminants; $3 million on research to ensure that pesticides do not jeopardize public health; $2.4 million enforcing laws to prevent industries from spilling oil into rivers and lakes; $2.3 million performing research to ensure that pesticides do not harm fish and wildlife; and $1.5 million supporting independent, peer-reviewed science related to EPA’s pesticide and toxic programs.
Among Pruitt’s costs to taxpayers was a $164,200 trip to Italy in June 2017 – previously reported as costing $120,256 — that included Pruitt’s private tour of the Vatican and a meeting with officials in the Group of Seven, the international economic alliance, according to federal records.
The price tag for the Italy trip included $34,961 paid by EPA to the U.S. Embassy in Rome to cover a variety of costs for Pruitt’s entourage, including $10,067 for automobiles, drivers, and other vehicle-related costs to drive Mr. Pruitt and his entourage in a motorcade around in Italy, according to federal records.
Also included in this price tag is $5,841 to lodge the entourage’s drivers at the five-star Baglioni Hotel Regina in Rome, EPA records show.
The hotel, on the Vio Veneto near the Villa Borghese, charges more than $500 per night for rooms and advertises itself on its website with the words: “Experience the magical ‘Dolce Vita.’ …A meeting place beloved of the international jet-set, this hotel in Rome has a magnificent selection of rooms in original Art Deco style.”
“These expenditures show where the Trump Administration’s real priorities lie,” said Tom Pelton, Director of Communications for the Environmental Integrity Project. “And the records show their minds are far more on the ‘Dolce Vita’ than on keeping lead and pesticides out of our children.”
For a breakdown of Pruitt’s June 2017 travel expenditures to Italy, click here.
For a summary of all the travel costs of Pruitt’s entourage, including security, from February 21, 2017 to August 31, 2017, click here.
To read copies of all of the Pruitt travel records obtained by EIP, click here.
The Environmental Integrity Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that empowers communities and protects public health and the environment by investigating polluters, holding them accountable under the law, and strengthening public policy.
Media contact: Tom Pelton, Environmental Integrity Project, firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 888-2703