EPA watchdog expects to complete Pruitt travel review this summer

A watchdog inquiry into Scott Pruitt’s travel and security detail will be completed this summer, the Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general said Tuesday.

Inspector General Arthur Elkins Jr. told Congress in a letter he expects to complete a probe into “the EPA Administrator’s travels and protective service detail” by September 30.

Salaries and travel for the security detail cost EPA nearly $3.5 million for the past year, according to documents the agency released Friday. Agents from the team of 19 traveled with Pruitt to Morocco, Italy, his Oklahoma home and Disneyland.

The travel and security probe is one of a dozen investigations, audits, and other reviews into Pruitt’s management of the agency. Some of those reviews are being conducted by other bodies, including congressional committees and the Government Accountability Office.

In April, the Government Accountability Office concluded EPA violated federal spending laws when it installed a $43,000 soundproof booth in Pruitt’s office. The agency disputed the finding but said it would comply with the law’s requirement to officially notify Congress of the purchase.

The inspector general letter also notes that his office “saw a significant increase in congressional requests for audits and investigations” in recent months.

In that time, Democrats in Congress have asked the inspector general to look into a number of allegations against Pruitt, such as whether his multiple email and calendar accounts have been searched when responding to requests for information.

The inspector general also has three open “employee integrity” cases involving political appointees, according to a report that accompanies the letter. Those types of cases “involve allegations of criminal activity or serious misconduct by agency employees,” the report notes.