EPA Administrator Went on Taxpayer-Funded Delta Mileage Runs

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt flies Delta even when the government has a contract fare with another airline and flies first class due to ‘exceptional security circumstances’.

His government travel forms claim coach would be unsafe for him. And as a result he has no problem meeting minimum spend requirements for Delta SkyMiles elite status.

During this morning’s Delta earnings call we learned that SkyMiles revenue growth contributed more than an incremental $80 million to the carrier during the previous quarter. How much of this is due to the EPA Administrator is not clear, however The New York Times is reporting that not only did he “push[..] the agency to book him on Delta..to accrue more frequent flier miles” but he also apparently made mileage runs where staff had to ‘find him something to do’.

Mr. Chmielewski told congressional staff members during a meeting this week that Mr. Pruitt would often seek to schedule trips back to Oklahoma, where he still owns a home, so he could stay there for weekends. “Find me something to do,” were the instructions Mr. Pruitt gave his staff, after telling them he wanted to travel to particular destinations, the letter says, quoting Mr. Chmielewski, who was expected to sign off on the trips.

Last year the Secretary of Health and Human Services charted a private jet from DC to Philadelphia claiming that the United flight operating at the same time wasn’t convenient, and apparently also that Amtrak wasn’t an option. Meanwhile the federal government reportedly pays the maximum legal amount for rooms at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. Although no one is earning miles in those cases, which is a shame.

(HT: @RyanRadia)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. And…. cue the Trump scumbag supporters to give you hell. Something about Hilary’s emails, Obama being a Muslim or some other absolute garbage/ racist redneck rant.

    Before that though….Pruitt is the most soulless, no integrity sack of s*** on this planet. Talking of which he’s also the biggest threat to the planet, and/ or environment that ironically he is charged to protect.

    Screw you Republicans. You sicken me

  2. In glad I made it to the comments section before some dumb conservative found some way to defend this. This is despicable.

  3. @Andy,

    You’re a man of hate. A racist dog. Obama was, and still is, a snake, a scum, married a man, his middle name is Insane—-Barack Insane Obama. Get over it. Crooked Hillary Clinton LOST and you’re experiencing the reverse change now. About time too, you pinko coward.


    Only a matter of time when the planes will be 90% GOP, and less than 10% anti-GOP. Face up to it, it costs you more to get FF Miles now—-thanks to your racist black man, Barack Insane Obama. You pinko coward.

    Any of you Trump bashers want to go on the shooting range, feel free. You can use your slingshots, while we use our 2nd Amendment. You can always kiss London’s crazy Mooslim, Sadiq Khan, who wants to take your knifes away. Soon you won’t even have cotton swabs. Go ahead, change your gender now children—-mixed up maniacs.

  4. You forgot that he was flying as a friend’s Companion on Southwest when he was traveling on personal travel. My personal favorite detail.

  5. What’s worse, yet another example of Trumpublican Administration corruption? Or that in this case the purpose of the corruption is to accumulate Skypesos over another more valuable mileage currency….and at a cost premium (paid by taxpayers, of course)? Morally, fiscally AND intellectually bankrupt….

  6. First of all, let me self identify as a moderate who has difficulty finding any candidates who I think are qualified.

    Secondly, what Scott Pruitt has done is terrible beyond belief and is indefensible.

    Third, Democrats HAVE done equally bad things with regards to travel; for example, Representative Sheila Jackson booking multiple first class tickets and evicting a passenger who had purchased a ticket comes to mind. That was just last December and there are other examples.

    The thing that drives me crazy is the lack of intleectual consistency (some might say integrity) shown by most citizens. In this case, we have Republicans voters defending Pruitt under the guise that “everyone has done it”. These are the same people who (appropriately) castigated Rep Jackson for her obnoxious behavior.

    On the other hand, we have Democrats (Andy on this board) who are over the top on Pruitt but who were strangely silent about Rep Jackson.

    As long as we have Republicans staying silent or defending their Pruitts and Democrats staying silent or defending their Jacksons, then nothing is going to change. None of these politicians give a crap about how the voters for the other party feel.

    And, finally, if those of you who act like this don’t recognize your deeply flawed intelectual integrity and consistency, then you are even more stupid than I am portraying you here.

  7. Yawn. Watermelons in the New York Times (NYT) trash Pruitt. Useful idiots above join the lynch mob. What else is new.

  8. Hey Gary – remember the good old days was a travel scandal that consisted of a Governor starting his trek on the Appalachian trail in Argentina…

  9. interesting how things have changed since I was a Fed. When I came to work in 1997 we were not permitted to spend miles earned on government travel. Many people set up 2 accounts so they could still get status perks but keep miles from their leisure flights. Others like me had to file a form every year disclosing the number of miles in our account that “belonged” to the government. But it gets worse. Nobody at my agency was permitted to accept an upgrade to F – paid, free, coupons, anything. This was the result of the head of our agency being reamed out by a Congressional Committee (hello Zuck) because some Congressman was jealous that he had used personal funds for a paid upgrade. Thankfully after a couple of years Congress put an end to all this nonsense and feds were finally allowed to keep miles earned from business travel.

    But with that in mind it is inconceivable to me that a Fed would use taxpayer money to fund mileage runs. If true he should be fired and prosecuted.

  10. No where near as expensive as Mooch and B Husain taking separate 747’s to and from Hawaii only a couple hours apart. Or Mooch taking her brood, family members, and strap hangers to Africa to stay in $10,000 / night suites. Or all the other many, many trips Mooch went on with her personal staff of 78 people.

  11. I think every cabinet secretary should get out of the beltway as often as possible to see what actions they take or don’t take are having on the communities they serve. I applaud Pruitt for doing what his predecessors refused to do. If he is comfortable with Delta, then more power to him. The juvenile diatribes in this and other sources is sure enough evidence he is doing some good.

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