Press Releases

Following Reports of Pruitt’s $40,000 Trip to Morocco, Carper Asks Inspector General to Expand Investigation into EPA Administrator’s Travel

Ranking Member requests a review of the purpose of Pruitt’s travels to determine whether his activities are in line with EPA’s mission “to protect human health and the environment”

Dec 18 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, sent a letter to Arthur Elkins, Inspector General of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), requesting he expand his current audit of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s travel to include Administrator Pruitt’s recently reported four-day trip to Morocco to promote U.S. liquefied natural gas exports – an issue that does not fall within the jurisdiction of the EPA.

Inspector General Elkins first opened a formal audit into Administrator Pruitt’s travel following a request from Senator Carper to investigate media reports that during the first three months of Administrator Pruitt’s tenure, he spent nearly half his time in his home state of Oklahoma. Inspector General Elkins’ original response to Senator Carper in August stated that EPA’s Office of Inspector General would review Administrator Pruitt’s travel through July 31, 2017. On October 6, 2017, Inspector General Elkins announced EPA OIG would expand the scope of the audit to “include all travel by the Administrator through September 30, 2017.”

Senator Carper wrote, “I write to ask you to expand the scope of your current audit regarding Administrator Pruitt’s travel in light of his recent trip to Morocco.  This trip reportedly cost taxpayers $40,000, and one purpose of the trip was to promote U.S. liquefied natural gas exports.  Specifically, I request that you review the purpose of Administrator Pruitt’s travels to determine whether his activities during each trip are in line with EPA’s mission ‘to protect human health and the environment.’” 

He continued, “In light of the Administrator’s recent trip to Morocco, I request that you further expand the scope of your audit to include all travel up to the present, with an examination of whether the purpose of travel is consistent with the EPA’s mission.”

The text of the letter to Inspector General Elkins can be found below and in pdf form here.

December 18, 2017

Dear Mr. Elkins,

I write to ask you to expand the scope of your current audit regarding Administrator Pruitt’s travel in light of his recent trip to Morocco.  This trip reportedly[1] cost taxpayers $40,000, and one purpose of the trip was to promote U.S. liquefied natural gas exports.[2] Specifically, I request that you review the purpose of Administrator Pruitt’s travels to determine whether his activities during each trip are in line with EPA’s mission “to protect human health and the environment”.[3]

I first wrote to you on August 4, 2017 and asked you to examine Administrator Pruitt’s travel with regard to frequency, cost and purpose of his travel, the extent to which he is accompanied by staff, and include a review of both his domestic and international travel. On August 28, 2017, you announced that you would undertake an audit of the Administrator’s travel that included trips to Oklahoma, through July 31, 2017. On October 6, 2017 you then announced that you would expand the scope of the audit to “include all travel by the Administrator through September 30, 2017.”[4]

In light of the Administrator’s recent trip to Morocco, I request that you further expand the scope of your audit to include all travel up to the present, with an examination of whether the purpose of travel is consistent with the EPA’s mission.

Thank you very much for your attention to this important matter. 

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