Then-Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt instructed his security detail to drive above the speed limit to make appointments, sometimes to the point of “endanger[ing] public safety,” according to a federal report.
In the report, federal agents wrote that Pruitt, who often ran late, frequently told his drivers to “speed it up” and prompted them to use sirens and lights, asking, “Can you guys use that magic button to get us through traffic?”
In 2017, Pruitt directed an agent to turn on the lights and sirens while driving into oncoming traffic to pick up the then-administrator’s dry cleaning while he was 35 minutes late to a meeting, according to the report.
Agents said Pruitt both specifically directed drivers to use lights and sirens and directed them “implicitly through his body language and cues.”
In at least one case, the report states, an agent told Pruitt that the lights and sirens were only to be used in emergency situations rather than to make up for simple lateness, which noticeably upset Pruitt and caused him to fall silent for “an uncomfortable time.”
The agent was removed from their position within days, according to the report.
The witness “described that this action sent a clear message to the [protective security detail] that if you didn’t perform the bidding of the Administrator, you would lose your job,” the report states. “This idea made for many uncomfortable times where PSD agents were directed to use lights and sirens in violation of … policy and public safety.”
The report was released Thursday by the Office of Special Counsel even though it was completed in 2018 by the EPA’s Office of Criminal Enforcement, Forensics and Training.
So what does he have to say? In a statement to The Hill, Pruitt dismissed the report as “The New York Times coming after me again.”
The Times first reported on the federal report.
“The left doesn’t want me back in Washington because they know I will reverse their terrible policies. I will fight the radical environmental groups in order to restore energy independence,” he said.
Pruitt, President Trump’s first EPA chief, left the position in 2018 following a series of controversies around expenditures and ethics rules. He’s now running to represent Oklahoma in the Senate.
Read more about the allegations here.