The Environmental Protection Agency considered flying its scandal-plagued chief Scott Pruitt around on a private jet.
The idea was quickly dumped last year after the price tag of $100,000 a month from plane leasing company NetJets was considered prohibitively expensive.
Pruitt is embroiled in several ethics probes including staying in an apartment near Capitol Hill owned by energy lobbyists for just $50 a night.
The Environmental Protection Agency considered flying its scandal-plagued chief Scott Pruitt around on a private jet
‘This is not news. EPA’s [chief financial officer] regularly receives solicitations for this type of travel,’ spokesman Jahan Wilcox told the Washington Post.
‘We did our due diligence, found it was not as cost efficient and continued to fly commercial.’
Pruitt is already being investigated for his travel costs by the agency’s inspector general, including his frequent use of first class seats.
The EPA handed over documents revealing it spent $68,000 on travel for Pruitt since August, in addition to an earlier $120,000 first-class trip to Italy last June.
On four occasions, he flew on private or military planes in the past six weeks, costing taxpayers more than $58,000.
Officials said Pruitt avoided economy class because of threats and abuse made against him by passengers on previous occasions.
Observers including former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speculated Pruitt would be the next cabinet official pushed out of the Trump administration.
‘Listen, I don’t know how you survive this one,’ Christie said on ABC’s This Week.
His statement followed revelations of a sweetheart rental deal in Washington Pruitt was getting for an apartment co-owned by an energy lobbyist’s wife.
Pruitt is embroiled in several ethics probes including staying in an apartment (pictured) near Capitol Hill owned by energy lobbyists for just $50 a night
Pruitt was only paying $50 a night to stay in the apartment, in a neighborhood adjacent to the U.S. Capitol complex where comparable rentals were on the market for $5,000 a month.
Pruitt paid $6,100 to use the property for more than six months, giving money to a limited liability corporation for the condo co-owned by Vicki Hart.
Hart’s husband J. Steven Hart is the chairman of Williams & Jensen, a top D.C. lobbying firm.
A description of his duties on the firm’s website lists ‘energy’ as one of his issue areas.
A spokesperson for Pruitt initially said the EPA administrator was only renting out one bedroom in the apartment, not the full unit.
‘While transitioning in Washington, Administrator Pruitt signed a lease to rent a bedroom in a condo and he moved out at the end of July,’ spokesman Jahan Wilcox said.
‘As EPA career ethics officials stated in a memo, Administrator Pruitt’s housing arrangement for both himself and family was not a gift and the lease was consistent with federal ethics regulations,’ Wilcox added in a second statement on Friday.
Observers including former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (pictured) speculated Pruitt would be the next cabinet official pushed out of the Trump administration
On Saturday, ABC News reported that Pruitt’s daughter McKenna used a second bedroom in the unit during a stint in Washington for a White House internship.
A woman who identified herself as McKenna’s mother told ABC on the phone that her daughter lived in Oklahoma last year.
When asked where she resided during her White House internship, the woman told ABC, ‘She has nothing to do with my husband’s administration.’
She then hung up.
Vicki Hart told the network that ‘the rental agreement was with Scott Pruitt.’
‘If other people were using the bedroom or the living quarters, I was never told, and I never gave him permission to do that,’ Hart said.
A spokesman for her husband told ABC that Steven Hart has not lobbied the EPA or the Department of Energy since President Trump’s swearing-in.