IG report says Pruitt was wrong for adding extra bodyguards

Scott Pruitt’s claims of a need for additional protection while he was Administrator of the Environmental Protection agency were not justified according to a report released by the EPA’s Inspector General on Tuesday.

The IG issued the report entitled “EPA Asserts Statutory Law Enforcement Authority to Protect its Administrator but Lacks Procedures to Assess Threats and Identify the Proper Level of Protection.”

The reported stated, “Failure to properly justify the level of protective services provided to the Administrator has allowed costs to increase from $1.6 million to $3.5 million in just 11 months.

During his time as head of the EPA, Pruitt contended he needed more protection because of threats by environmentalists and other activists. The IG said since it did not have a legal opinion, it could not determine whether the EPA’s Protective Service Detail had the legal right to offer round-the-block protection. Only two federal agencies, the Secret Service and the Department of State have statutory authority to protect executive branch officials.

“We found that the PSD has no final, approved standard operating procedures that address the level of protection required for the Administrator or how those services are to be provided,” declared the IG report.

The Inspector General maintained the PSD incurred more than $3.5 million in costs from Feb. 1, 2017 through Dec. 31, 2017, an increase of more than 110 percent compared to the prior period’s costs of $1.6 million. The investigation also showed PSD agents worked overtime without proper authorization resulting in improper payments of $106,507 between Jan. 2016 and March 2017.

“Additionally, the Office of General Counsel incorrectly terminated a debt owed by a PSD agent, resulting in the agent exceeding the annual pay cap,” stated the report.

The IG recommended that new policies and procedures be creating defining the amount of time that PSD agents spend on investigating environmental crimes.

“Also, we recommend that the EPA complete a threat analysis on a regular basis to identify the proper protection required for the Administrator,” said the IG. “Further, we recommend that the EPA create and implement comprehensive policies, procedures and standard operating procedures for all PSD operations.”