Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s spending came under scrutiny again on Monday as congressional Democrats said a sweep last year for listening devices in his office was poorly done and the contractor improperly hired.
In a letter chair of the House Oversight Committee Trey Gowdy, five Democrats in the Senate and House of Representatives cited documents they obtained from a whistleblower.
The documents “may constitute evidence of a violation of law” an “abuse of authority” and a “gross waste of funds,” the lawmakers wrote.
The EPA did not respond to a request for comment about the security sweep. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about the Pruitt scandals and said, “We’re reviewing some of those allegations.”
Pruitt has come under fire for his spending on travel and office improvements, and a Government Accountability Office report last week said the agency violated the law when it spent $43,000 on a secure soundproof booth for Pruitt’s office.
The Democrats, who include Senators Thomas Carper and Sheldon Whitehouse and House appropriations ranking member Elijah Cummings, said the documents showed the EPA in March 2017 paid $3,000 for a security sweep by Edwin Steinmetz of Sequoia Security Group using “an EPA credit card without first obtaining the required pre-approval.”
Steinmetz is a business partner of Pasquale “Nino” Perrotta, who heads up Pruitt’s security detail, and the contract may have been improperly directed to Steinmetz, they said.
EPA’s Office of Homeland Security concluded a month after the sweep that it was “very basic and cursory” and “did not employ the equipment, proper certification or necessary processes” to assure Pruitt’s office was safe for classified information, the Democrats said.
Some of the EPA officials who received a copy of the EPA Office of Homeland Security evaluation were reassigned after questioning the agency’s spending on security measures, the lawmakers said, citing a New York Times report earlier this month.
Gowdy’s office was not immediately available for comment.
Gowdy, a Republican from South Carolina, has already launched probes into some recent allegations of Pruitt’s spending on premium travel and security. The White House Office of Management and Budget is also investigating Pruitt’s spending.
Reporting By Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Cynthia Osterman
WATCH: ‘Let the world know what is going on in Seattle!’
Late Saturday night, videos emerged of the Seattle Police Department using draconian tactics to fight people protesting against police violence.
Here are some of the images from the scene:
Things remain tense. Police are on the roof across from us—a new development tonight, I believe—and protestors have shined lights at them. Prompted multiple warnings from the police, saying people shining lights will “corrupt” the night from being peaceful pic.twitter.com/pM5tD0KVrk
— Chase Burns (@chaseburnsy) June 7, 2020
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey kicked out of protest: ‘The most intense walk of shame I’ve ever seen’
Controversial Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey was kicked out of a protest against police violence on Saturday.
One of the organizers asked him to answer "yes or no" to whether he would commit to defunding the Minneapolis Police Department.
"It's important that we hear this, because if y'all don't know, he's up for reelection next year," the organizer told the crowd. "And if he says 'no,' guess what the f*ck we're going to do next year."
Frey shook his head from side-to-side.
"Get the f*ck out of here," the organizer demanded.
The crowd then began chanting, "go home Jacob, go home."
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser takes action ‘aimed to humiliate Trump’ in ongoing feud: Washington Post
The ongoing feud between the black woman leading Washington, DC and the white man inside the White House was the focus of an in-depth Washington Post report published Saturday evening.
"The response has been emphatic. Since Trump’s personal attack on May 30, Bowser has fought back fiercely against the president’s bullying, taunting him with tweets and criticisms of her own. On Friday, she rebuked him with a defiant display of street art in which she sought to draw a clear contrast with Trump’s calls for 'law and order' by demonstrating active support for peaceful protesters of the Black Lives Matter movement," the newspaper reported.