Sunday, March 25, 2018

Reason #5910 That Trump Was Elected

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt is under fire for flying high on the taxpayers’ dime. Fair enough — but why did his Obama-era predecessors escape the same scrutiny?

Almost $90,000 went for food, hotels, airfare and a military jet for his trip with nine staffers for the four-day G-7 environmental summit in Italy last June. Nearly 40 grand more covered a trip to Morocco to promote US exports of environmentally friendly natural gas.

Many critics have hit Pruitt for taking first-class seats when EPA guidelines suggest coach — but he argues that’s called for because he’s been getting death threats from pretty much his first day on the job. (Some greens really, really don’t like him.) Indeed, a quarter of his travel bill was $30,000 for his security detail.

And The Washington Free Beacon’s Elizabeth Harrington dug up some more context: President Obama’s EPA poohbahs traveled just as large.

Lisa Jackson, EPA director from 2009 to 2013, racked up more than $332,000 on four overseas trips. Gina McCarthy, the chief in 2013-17, spent nearly $630,000 on flights and security in her 10 international travels.

None of which made headlines, even on the web — though their yearly average bill was a bit above Pruitt’s one-year total.
More here:  Anybody Recall The Media Looking At Gina McCarthy’s Travel Expenses?
In the WaPo article, they made the “Italy trip” sound like some sort of sightseeing tour. In reality, Pruitt and his staff were attending the G7 summit, but did visit the Vatican, which the Washington Post found absolutely scandalous. But still, the cost of such things should be made available to the public, right? Oddly enough, though, it wasn’t that long ago that somebody else held the same position as Pruitt. (A couple of somebodys actually.) I don’t seem to recall this level of interest, even though Gina McCarthy and Lisa Jackson both did quite a bit of globetrotting on the taxpayer’s dime. Let’s take a short trip down memory lane and see how the two administrations stack up, shall we?

In 2017, Scott Pruitt and his security detail went on two overseas trips. On the G7 trip, they spent $84,000. On a separate trip to Morocco they spent $40,000. Whether or not that bill for two trips all year is excessive can remain in the eye of the beholder. But before you decide, let’s first look at how Gina McCarthy and her security detail did during the Obama administration.

In 2016, Team McCarthy made three trips spending the following amounts:

$68,382 to travel to Ghana
$45,139 to travel to Peru
$74,737 to travel to Tokyo

They were a bit more busy in 2015 it seems. McCarthy and the security team racked up the following bills:

$41,320 to travel to Paris
$90,367 to travel to Dubai
$67,702 to travel to Tokyo
$56,192 to travel to Italy

We need to pause and include a side note about that last entry. When McCarthy went on her own “Italy trip” where do you think she visited? Oh, that’s right.. it was the Vatican. Of course she was there to “discuss climate change” so I’m sure everyone’s cool with that.
I wouldn't mind a law banning overseas trips by cabinet officers not involved directly in overseas activities, with the proviso that the the Congress be permitted to specifically authorize such an expenditure. But lets start it the next time the democrats get into office.

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