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Probe faults premium travel by former EPA head, bodyguards

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency’s internal watchdog says former agency head Scott Pruitt and his bodyguards improperly spent $124,000 in federal funds on premium-class flights, and that EPA should consider trying to recover the money.

The EPA inspector general says the evidence doesn’t support Pruitt’s argument that security concerns made the luxury travel necessary. It recommends the EPA determine whether any of the excessive costs should be recovered.

The inspector general looked at 40 trips, including six that were canceled, with a total price tag of $985,000.

Pruitt left the EPA last year as ethics investigations against him mounted.

The EPA says in a statement that it believes the premium-class travel was warranted and allowed by the rules. It argues reimbursement would be inappropriate.