Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and his top aides spent more than $90,000 on travel costs in the first few weeks of June 2017, according to a Sunday report that could put pressure on Pruitt just months after another Cabinet head had to resign over private flights.
The $90,000 includes a first-class flight Pruitt took from Washington New York City on June 5, which cost him $1,641.43. Two aides flew on coach on that flight, the Washington Post reported.
The group stayed in a high-end hotel near Times Square and flew back to Washington a day later.
On June 7, Pruitt spent more than $36,000 for a military jet from Cincinnati to New York, where they caught a flight to Rome.
Pruitt's round-trip flight from New York to Rome cost upwards of $7,000, even though Freedom of Information Act records show other EPA officials who traveled with him paid several times less. The documents do not detail a reason for the difference in seat costs, though it is likely due to the difference between first class and coach.
The $90,000 figure for travel in early June does not include security detail costs, and the story included other pricey flights Pruitt took in May and July.
In July, for example, Pruitt spent $4,443 on two round-trips from Washington to Birmingham, Ala., and Atlanta. He has also upwards of $2,000 on first-class flights to official meetings or tours near Tulsa, Okla., where he lives.
His first-class trips to Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, and Little Rock, Ark., cost taxpayers $4,680.04. He racked up more than $10,000 flying to Colorado, Iowa, North Dakota and Texas, not including hotels and meal costs.
The report came out about six months after former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned after reports of his excessive use of first-class travel accommodations.
Government travelers are required to "exercise the same care in incurring expenses that a prudent person would exercise if traveling on personal business." Travelers are permitted to fly first-class if a flight is 14 hours or longer, the traveler has a medical disability, or under "exceptional security circumstances" when "use of coach class accommodations would endanger your life or government property."
The final exception is one Pruitt has heavily relied on in his first year in the administration.
Pruitt is expected to travel to Israel, Australia, Japan, Mexico, and possibly Canada in 2018. He will visit New Hampshire this week to meet with the governor, visit a paper company, and tour a Superfund site — though the EPA has not publicized the government official's agenda.