Two top Democrats on the committee, ranking member Thomas R. Carper of DE and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, on Tuesday demanded such hearings, saying they have confidential documents that contradict public statements made by Pruitt, EPA spokespersons and President Donald Trump regarding the administrator's security spending.
Separately, Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-12th Dist., and Albio Sires, D-8th Dist., were among 64 House Democrats signing a letter to Trump calling him to dismiss Pruitt.
The Republican head of the U.S. House of Representative's oversight committee told Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt on Wednesday his agency has not provided requested documents about expensive air travel, including documents related to any threats that had been made on Pruitt.
Pruitt, who sued the EPA when he was Oklahoma attorney general, has been criticized for rolling back environmental regulations under President Donald Trump. The October memo was created by Pruitt's protective security detail, led by Pasquale Perrotta, who is known as Nino, and was used to try to justify much of Pruitt's large security detail and first-class travel.
The EPA ethics office said this month its recent review of the condo rental cleared Pruitt of accepting a gift from a lobbyist, but it did not address a rule requiring officials to avoid behavior that could result in their impartiality being questioned.
"Any reasonable reading of these documents supports the Office of the Inspector General's statements that Administrator Pruitt faces a 'variety of direct death threats, '" he said.
Another document cited in the letter, but not provided publicly, is a February 14 memo from EPA's Office of Homeland Security Intelligence Team the Democrats say concludes that a threat was being mischaracterized by the security detail and the Inspector General and "DOES NOT employ sound analysis or articulate relevant "threat specific" information appropriate to draw any resource or level of threat conclusions regarding the protection posture for the administrator".
Politico first reported Tuesday that the career EPA security staffer who wrote the February memo, Mario Caraballo, was sacked shortly after the Democrats' account of it became public. The property was co-owned by the wife of a prominent lobbyist who runs a firm with a roster of fossil fuels clients who have received favorable regulatory rulings from Pruitt's EPA.
Pruitt has said his use of first-class airfare was initiated following unpleasant interactions with other travelers.
EPA has denied any connection between the personnel action against Caraballo and the release of the Democrats' letter.
Jahan Wilcox, an EPA spokesman, said in a statement to CNN that "Administrator Pruitt does not have a challenge coin", adding, "but while we're on the subject, President Obama's Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs Tammy Duckworth spent taxpayers dollars on challenge coins".
A nationwide search of state and federal court records by AP found no case where anyone has been arrested or charged with making violent threats against Pruitt.
The reported threats, the letter said, included mundane incidents like protestors attempting to disrupt Pruitt's speech at a private event and letters or social media posts expressing displeasure with the administrator's actions.
"These coins represent the agency", former EPA multimedia office director Ronald Slotkin said.