The proposal, buried in the administration’s latest government reform and reorganization plan, suggests assigning the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) to protect branch heads, effectively centralizing security needs for the EPA and other agencies under the Marshals’ umbrella.
“Rather than employing separate protective details with separate resources and authorities,” the proposal explains, “the USMS would professionalize and standardize this mission across multiple Executive Branch agencies.”
While Scott Pruitt’s name is not explicitly mentioned in the proposal’s text, the EPA chief has drawn scrutiny for the cost of his 24/7 security detail.
The U.S. Marshals Service already provides protective security for federal courts and judges, as well as certain top executive branch officials, including Education Secretary Betsy Devos and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Under this proposal, the Marshals’ role would expand to include the Departments of Labor, Energy, Commerce, Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, FILESurrounded by security agents, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt steps out of his armored SUV as he arrives to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Environment Subcommittee on Capitol Hill April 26, 2018 in Washington.
Last month, ABC News reported that EPA had spent more than $3.5 million on the administrator’s security team since taking office, significantly more than his two predecessors.
(MORE: EPA has spent more than $3.5 million on Pruitt’s security in first year in office)
(MORE: EPA requested 24/7 security for Pruitt on day one, internal watchdog says)
Documents reviewed by ABC News indicate that the two previous EPA administrators under the Obama administration, Lisa Jackson and Gina McCarthy, spent $1.9 million and $2 million, respectively, on security payroll and travel costs during their first year in office.
Agency officials justified the cost and nature of Pruitt’s security detail as a response to an “unprecedented number of threats” against him. Because of the threats, the EPA says, Pruitt and his security team needed to fly first class – the $3.5 million figure includes those costs.
At least two investigations into reported threats against Pruitt are still ongoing, and the EPA’s inspector general is looking into the cost of Pruitt’s security detail.
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