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Inspector general to investigate EPA chief’s travels to Oklahoma

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The frequent travels of the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, to Oklahoma will be investigated following congressional requests, the agency’s Office of Inspector General said on Monday.

Pruitt’s many travels to his home state have fueled speculation that he intends to run for the U.S. Senate from Oklahoma. A spokeswoman for Pruitt has declined comment on the speculation.

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The Office of Inspector General said it would look into the “frequency, cost and extent” of Pruitt’s travels to Oklahoma through July 31, and whether travel policies and procedures were followed.

It said the investigation will also aim to determine “whether EPA policies and procedures are sufficiently designed to prevent fraud, waste and abuse with the Administrator’s travel that included trips to Oklahoma.”

Pruitt was in Oklahoma on at least 43 of the 92 days of March, April and May, according to copies of his travel records obtained by the Environmental Integrity Project watchdog group and reviewed by Reuters last month.

The travel records show Pruitt’s schedule this spring often took him to cities in the U.S. heartland where he held meetings, often with oil and gas industry representatives, made speeches and attended events before flying to Tulsa for extended weekends.

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The records showed Pruitt paid for some legs of the trips directly related to his visits home, although it was not clear he paid for all such legs.

Pruitt has riled environmentalists by raising doubts about climate change and by vowing to sweep away scores of Obama-era regulations to help business.

Before becoming head of the EPA under Republican President Donald Trump in February, he was Oklahoma’s attorney general and repeatedly sued the agency he now runs to block federal environmental rules.

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(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Writing by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Vegan parents who severely malnourished 10-month-old daughter to the point of bone loss will avoid jail time

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An Australian couple will avoid jail time and instead serve 300 hours of community service after they pled guilty to failing to provide the necessities of life for their 19-month-old daughter, Australian outlet 7News reported this Thursday.

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‘All over the map’: CNN details the bizarre surge of Trump’s flip-flops

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Following two mass shootings in one weekend, President Donald Trump promised to strengthen background checks for gun purchases. But just the next week--reportedly after speaking with NRA head Wayne LaPierre--dropped his resolve and said there were already sufficient background checks on the books.

That's not the only recent policy flip-flop by the President.

On CNN Thursday, White House reporter Sarah Westwood chronicled all the policies on which the president has reversed course. First, the president abruptly cancelled plans to cut foreign aid.

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Top DHS aide resigns amid Trump anger that new anti-immigration plan didn’t get better TV ratings: report

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The Trump White House has long been plagued by record turnover and now Axios is reporting that yet another Trump administration official has found himself out of a job.

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