Scott Pruitt, head of the EPA, is perhaps one of the Trump Administration’s most recognizable and controversial figures. One could certainly spend a good chunk of time unpacking his policy scandals, which range from proposing that the EPA be run with ‘less science’ to allowing a pesticide that is harmful to children’s brains to remain legal. However, on a smaller scale, Pruitt has also recently been accused of misusing government funds.
Pruitt has a 24-hour security detail, which is paid for using taxpayers’ dollars. According to Racked, in 2017, the detail cost 3.5 million dollars of taxpayers’ money. Vox reports that this is nearly triple the amount spent by those who held the position before him. With this in mind, the latest accusations leveled against him are not surprising: Pruitt supposedly uses his bodyguards to help him find and purchase a moisturizer that is only sold by the Ritz-Carlton.
The reported moisturizer is scented with ylang-ylang and bergamot and is priced anywhere between $27. 20-$32. An article in the Washington Post states:
“While EPA agents are required to protect Pruitt at all times – while he is working and during his off hours – the two individuals said the administrator had asked members of the detail to perform tasks that go beyond their primary function. In one instance, they said, he directed agents to drive him to multiple locations in search of a particular lotion offered at Ritz-Carlton hotels.”
The issue here is not necessarily the pricey moisturizer; Pruitt can buy what he wishes, so long as he does so on his own time and with his own money. He should not be using his taxpayer-funded security detail to run his personal errands. Numerous outlets, such as the New Yorker and Vox, have analyzed commentary that suggests this proclivity is somehow feminine; something that some view as a direct contradiction with the rigid “macho” image of the Trump administration. Still, it should be stated that many people, of all genders, cultivate and follow skin care regimens. The issue with Mr. Pruitt’s case is that the particularities of his skin care habits should not infringe on the pocket of the American people.
His use of the security detail only becomes more perplexing when one realizes that the lotion is actually available for purchase online.
This is not the first time the head of the EPA has been caught using government funds to pay for his expensive tastes. He has reportedly sent out his security detail to pick up his dry cleaning, as well as insisting on traveling first-class with government funds. This is a worrying pattern of spending abuses.
Senator Thomas R. Carper (D-Del) of the Environment and Public Works Committee called for Pruitt to step down, stating:
“Americans deserve an EPA administrator who will work to carry out the agency’s mission to protect the public’s health and our environment. Instead, Mr. Pruitt is using this critical agency to do his personal bidding on the taxpayers’ dime. Americans are fed up. Enough is enough.”
Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons