EPA inspector general to review Administrator Pruitt’s travels

The Environmental Protection Agency's inspector general is looking into EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's many trips back and forth to Oklahoma.

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  • After a request from Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), the Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general said it will audit EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s travel to and from his home state of Oklahoma. The IG said it will seek the frequency, cost, and extent of Pruitt’s trips. Carper asked for the review after a New York Times article reported Pruitt spent half his time between March and May traveling to or from Oklahoma. (Senate Environment and Public Works Committee)
  • The Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund has asked its constituents to donate to its disaster relief program. Impacted victims of Hurricane Harvey can apply for loans or grants of up to $500 to help find temporary housing or make home repairs. The National Treasury Employees Union will match donations to the relief program up to $30,000. (Federal News Radio)
  • Seventy-one of the Navy’s T-45 trainer jets are stuck in the path of the storms at Naval Air Station Kingsville in Texas. The planes were put in hangers before Hurricane Harvey made landfall. The Navy was able to evacuate 28 of the 99 trainer jets housed there.
  • Be cautious of emails or other correspondence soliciting donations for Hurricane Harvey victims. The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team said emails requesting donations from deceitful organizations are common after major natural disasters. Watch out for emails containing attachments or links to fake donation pages that could be phishing scams or malware. (U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team)
  • Another scam has put the IRS on alert. The IRS and the FBI are warning citizens to be aware of a new phishing scam that impersonates these agencies and takes computers hostage using ransomware. The IRS said the scam email uses the emblems of both the IRS and the FBI and tries to entice users to select a “here” link to download a fake FBI questionnaire. But instead, the link downloads malware that prevents users from getting to their data unless they pay money to the scammers. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen reminded citizens the tax agency doesn’t use email or phone calls to make their first contact when there is a problem. (Internal Revenue Service)
  • The National Park Service’s Office of Inspector General has exposed hiring misconduct. The IG said in November 2015, a San Francisco-based analyst was granted special telework allowances and claimed relocation expenses without any plans to move. Auditors said the hiring official involved retired before he could be interviewed for the investigation, however. (Department of Interior Office of Inspector General)
  • A former wildlife biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Service misused his government charge card between 2012 and 2016. The Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General said Timothy Strakosh’s card statements weren’t being reviewed properly. Strakosh pleaded guilty to theft of public money back in February and was ordered to pay nearly $20,000 in restitution. (Department of Interior Office of Inspector General)
  • Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke gave a political teammate a deal on his old campaign RV, one some election monitors said was too good of a deal. The Houston Chronicle reports Zinke’s campaign sold an RV he used for travel while campaigning to State Sen. Ed Buttrey. The RV was reportedly worth $50,000, but Zinke sold it for only $25,000, something election law experts said constitutes it as a gift. Zinke’s said the RV needs lots of repairs, though. (Houston Chronicle)
  • Two civil rights groups have filed suit against President Donald Trump, challenging his decision to ban transgender Americans from serving in the military. One of the lawsuits was filed by the ACLU on behalf of six transgender service members who are already in uniform. A second, filed by Lambda Legal, names an Army soldier and two prospective enlistees as plaintiffs. The ACLU suit alleges the Trump administration has shown no evidence to justify reversing the military’s transgender policy, and that it’s caused service members to fear for their careers, the well-being of their family members, their health care and their safety. (Federal News Radio)

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