It’s not clear why Scott Pruitt would need a dozen very fancy pens to do his job, but his office placed a rush order for them — to the tune of $1,560, or $130 each.
According to internal emails revealed Friday, the EPA administrator’s office ordered the pens from Washington, D.C.’s Tiny Jewelry Box — “the premier destination for fine jewelry and watches,” according to its Twitter page. The order was placed last August and expedited at the EPA’s request, with top-level staffer Millan Hupp signing off on it.
“The cost of the Qty. 12 Fountain Pens will be around $1,560.00,” an EPA staffer wrote to Hupp, Pruitt’s head of scheduling. “All the other items total cost is around $1,670.00 which these items are in process. Please advise.”
“Yes, please order,” responded Hupp.
The purchase — revealed in emails obtained by the Sierra Club and first reported by the Washington Post — is yet another case of Pruitt’s lavish spending with taxpayer dollars‚ even while he’s sought to slash the EPA’s budget. He’s come under fire for a string of extreme expenditures — a $43,000 phone booth installed in his office; first-class travel; his round-the-clock security detail, costing far more than past administrators — all while rolling back the agency’s regulatory operations.
Those flashy shows of wealth have been a staple of Pruitt’s tenure as EPA chief. He asked his security staff to use sirens on his vehicle to get him to a swanky dinner at Le Diplomate, an upscale French restaurant in Washington. He reportedly wanted a bigger car, too, because other Cabinet members had big cars. (His, he stipulated, had to have bulletproof features, according to the Washington Post.) And he’s sidelined and fired staffers who’ve pushed back against his expensive tastes.
His meticulous attention to presentation extended to his office supplies. He sought to have the EPA seal removed from pens and notebooks entirely, the New York Times reported in April, because apparently he thinks the EPA seal looks too much like a marijuana leaf. Instead, he wanted his name emblazoned on them.
In the end, though, the agency’s pens and notebooks did sport a small EPA logo, according to the Times.
Still, Pruitt has continued to insist that he cares very much about being responsible with taxpayer cash.
“Well, look, I care so much about taxpayer money,” Pruitt told Boris Epshteyn, a former senior adviser to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and now host of Sinclair Broadcast Group’s “Bottom Line with Boris” on Thursday.
“It’s what I’ve done historically when I served at the state level. It’s important that serving in this capacity that everyone is a good steward of taxpayer money,” he added. “In the first year of the Trump administration, a billion dollars in savings with respect to regulatory cost savings.”