Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Lobbyist got Pruitt Rose Bowl tickets at below market price

An Oklahoma businessman with ties to the fossil fuel industry helped Scott Pruitt get four tickets for himself and his family to the 2018 Rose Bowl. Pruitt reportedly paid $175 each for the tickets. The New York Times valued the tickets' worth at seven times that much. That would be a value of about $4900 for the four tickets.

The more I think about this, the more I feel there's a lot more to the story. Let's do some math.

Even if Pruitt only paid $175 per ticket, that would be $700 for tickets alone. He then had to fly his family to Pasadena for the game. Of course, he flies first class at taxpayer expense, but what about his family? I'm sure even the corrupt people who work deals for him would balk at the idea of taxpayers paying for the family tickets. Round trip tickets between Oklahoma City and LA run about $450 each for coach. I'm going to assume Pruitt is cheap and made his family ride coach while he sat in first class. The seat may be first class, but Pruitt isn't. But, even at coach fares, that would be $1350 for the other three seats.

Let's assume taxpayers got stiffed for the vehicle and let's assume taxpayers also got stuck paying for his hotel room (with his wife). This would be a violation of the law in that this was not job related, but we'll assume he found some meeting to go to for 30 minutes in order to justify the expense. That still leaves a hotel room for the kids. I'm going to assume two nights. Pruitt has earned a reputation as someone who thinks he's entitled and isn't going to stay in a budget rate motel. Upscale hotels average $500 per night during the Rose Bowl period (even Motel 6 is $200 per night). That's another $1000.

Throw in meals, parking, and other various expenses for four people and that's maybe another $1000. All total, you're looking at a total bill of somewhere in the range of $4000 - after what taxpayers got stuck for. Here's the problem I have with this - Pruitt is so cheap that he's trying to get his wife a job to help support households in both D.C. and Oklahoma. Why in the world would someone this cheap pay $4000 out of pocket to go see a football game. Was the fact that the Oklahoma Sooners were in the game provide sufficient motivation for him? Isn't it more likely that he got these expenses paid for by his lobbyist friends or fossil fuel buddies? That would be a very severe ethical violation. But, of course, Pruitt has shown he isn't concerned with ethical violations. Those are for other people, not him.

If there's any justice to be found, the Sooners lost 54 - 48.

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