Scott Pruitt’s “tactical pants” scandal, briefly explained


Scott Pruitt’s "tactical pants" scandal, briefly explained

The latest and greatest in the never-ending scandals of Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt: “tactical pants.”

The Intercept reported on Wednesday evening that as part of the EPA’s eye-popping $4.6 million in taxpayer dollars spent on security, the administrator’s office had spent nearly $3,000 on “tactical pants” and “tactical polos.”

The EPA later said in a statement Thursday that the tactical clothing was not used for Pruitt’s personal protection.

“These are routine expenditures for our Criminal Investigative Division (CID) and Protective Security Detail (PSD) agents to have proper attire for search warrants, arrests, disaster responses and training that go back multiple administrations. This attire is not used for protection work,” Henry Barnet, director of the Office of Criminal Enforcement, Forensics, and Training, said.

The agency is spending money on tactical clothing, body armor, bulletproof vehicles, and, for some reason, gear to break down locked doors. From the Intercept’s Lee Fang and Nick Surgey:

As the New York Times reported in late May, Pruitt is spending nearly twice as much money on security as EPA administrators who served under President Barack Obama.

“Administrator Pruitt has faced an unprecedented amount of death threats against him,” Jahan Wilcox, an agency spokesperson, told the Times by way of explanation. “To provide transparency, E.P.A. will post the costs of his security detail and proactively release these numbers on a quarterly basis.”

But as Vox’s Umair Irfan has detailed, the questions about Pruitt’s spending and other ethical quandaries are much bigger than security — and have attracted the attention of federal and congressional investigators.

This is the man who was living for a time in a lobbyist’s house for $50 a night, who reportedly was eating too often at the White House mess hall, and who allegedly sent out aides to buy the choicest body lotion from Ritz-Carlton hotels. He also tried to buy a used mattress from the Trump International Hotel, and apparently tried to set his wife up with a Chick-fil-A franchise.

With that in mind, “tactical pants” sounds … about right. Oh, and don’t forget: His agency is also working to dismantle many federal environmental regulations.


Scott Pruitt’s “tactical pants” scandal, briefly explained

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