Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), who serves on the Natural Resources Committee and vice-chairs the Science, Space, Technology Committee, agreed that there were questions about EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's apartment deal with the wife of an energy lobbyist. However, Beyer's biggest problem he'd like to see the media pay attention to is the constant "misuse of taxpayer dollars."
Friday it was revealed that Pruitt's security detail broke the door of his condo when he didn't answer the door. He was found napping. The EPA reimbursed the cost of the door. It prompted a conversation about taxpayer dollars being spent on Pruitt as he travels around Oklahoma, attended the Rose Bowl and took his family to Disney.
In an interview with CNN's Brianna Keilar, Beyer rattled off the laundry list of concerning spending from the new EPA chair.
"I look at all the other cabinet secretaries, secretary of state and people like that and no one had this kind of security now or before," Beyer explained. "I look at 535 members of Congress and, you know, we have the armed guards and all but everyone goes home unsecured every night or weekend. It's unprecedented to spend more than $2 million on the security, not only that, to do it to the Rose Bowl or Disneyland. Places where, you know, no one knows who he is."
While the ethics administrators have said that nothing improper is happening, Beyer noted that the condo next door to Pruitt is renting for $5,000 monthly. Pruitt's cost is only $1,500.
"It is a massive gift to him, especially from a couple that are energy lobbyists," Beyer said. "I think we have a $15 limit on gifts we can accept."
Pruitt is in good company, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has been under fire for his extravagant spending on private planes and military helicopters, some for nongovernment trips. At the same time, he replaced six historical doors in his office for $139,000 on the taxpayer dime.
Zinke is one of several in Trump's cabinet who've gotten caught with spending concerns. HUD Secretary Ben Carson had to cancel plans to spend $31,000 on a dinning room table and chairs and $165,000 on lounge chairs for his office.
"I want to focus on Pruitt for a minute because Zinke made the argument that historical requirements require those expensive doors," he continued. "Nothing required Pruitt to give a no-bid contract of $120,000 to a PR firm to investigate the e-mails and Facebook posts of EPA employees. Nothing required him to do $43,000 for a secret phone booth in his office when there's the same he could use on a different floor in the EPA. His misuse of taxpayer dollars over and over again is what's concerning."
Pruitt was also caught spending over $100,000 on first class plane seats alone.
He said it was for that reason he thinks Pruitt should resign. MSNBC host Rachel Maddow has a horserace going on who will be shoved out first, Pruitt or Zinke, for their spending
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