Scott Pruitt

Living Large In Oklahoma

The New York Times looks at EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s lifestyle back home and concludes his “political career in Oklahoma reveals that many of the pitfalls he has encountered in Washington have echoes in his past.”

“Lobbyists and others in Oklahoma state politics who encountered Mr. Pruitt recalled him as a tough competitor who always had his eye on a higher office. Some called him a ‘Boy Scout’ who was stingy with his money, while others said privately that he had exuded a sense of entitlement — that rules did not apply to him.”

 

Lobbying Firm Contradicts Pruitt’s Denials

Poltico: “The prominent lobbyist whose wife rented a condominium to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt lobbied the agency while Pruitt was leading it, contrary to his and Pruitt’s public denials that he had any business before the agency, according to a Friday filing by his firm.”

“The disclosure from the lobbying firm Williams & Jensen contradicts Pruitt’s public statement last month that the lobbyist, J. Steven Hart, had no clients with business before the EPA, and comes hours after Hart’s resignation from the firm.”

Pruitt Aides Made $45K Trip to Australia

“Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, under fire from lawmakers for travel and security expenses, spent about $45,000 in government money to fly five people to Australia to prepare for a planned trip that was later canceled,” Reuters reports.

“Two of his aides and three security agents flew to Australia last August on business-class tickets costing roughly $9,000 each to set up meetings for the EPA administrator.”

What Was Pruitt Doing In Morocco?

ABC News: “The 47-hour journey in Morocco was already drawing congressional scrutiny and criticism from outside groups because of the lack transparency over why Pruitt was in the country and what he was doing while he was there.”

“Conservative congressional estimates put the cost of the trip at more than $40,000, and because of travel snags, Pruitt and his aides spent two days in Paris at high-end hotels. Pruitt did not publicly announce he was going ahead of time, did not bring reporters along, and when he finally released copies of his itinerary in response to Freedom of Information requests from ABC News and other news organizations, the bulk of the schedule was blacked out.”

Pruitt Upgraded to SUV with Bullet-Proof Seat Covers

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt “upgraded his official car last year to a costlier, larger vehicle with bullet-resistant covers over bucket seats,” the Washington Post reports.

“One former EPA official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation, said that Pruitt remarked that he wanted the larger car because it was similar to ones in which some other Cabinet officials rode.”

Pruitt Broke Law By Installing Secure Phone Booth

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt installed a $43,000 soundproof phone booth at agency headquarters last fall, which “violated the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, which prohibits an agency from paying more than $5,000 to redecorate or furnish a presidential appointee’s office without approval,” the Washington Post reports.

Why Does Pruitt Have Four Email Addresses?

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt “has used four separate agency email addresses since taking office, according to Senate Democrats and an EPA official, prompting concerns among agency lawyers that the EPA has not disclosed all the documents it would normally release to the public under federal records requests,” the Washington Post reports.

“Pruitt’s four email addresses include one in the conventional agency format, pruitt.scott@epa.gov, as well as three others: esp7@epa.gov, adm14pruitt@epa.gov and sooners7@epa.gov, an apparent reference to the University of Oklahoma, whose football team Pruitt follows closely.”

Lawmakers Claim Further Spending Abuses by Pruitt

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt “insisted on staying in luxury hotels that were costlier than allowed by government standards, while also pushing to fly on an airline not on the government’s approved list so he could accrue more frequent flier miles, one of his top former deputies at agency has told congressional investigators,” the New York Times reports.

“The new allegations are detailed in a scathing six-page letter signed by two senators and three House lawmakers — all Democrats — whose staff members met this week with Kevin Chmielewski, who served as the E.P.A.’s deputy chief of staff until he was removed from his post after raising objections to this and other spending.”

Email Contradicts Pruitt’s Account of Controversial Raises

An internal email that suggests EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt “personally signed off on a controversial pay raise for a favored aide last month is roiling the agency,” The Atlantic reports.

Last week, Pruitt was pressed in an interview by Fox News’s Ed Henry but denied any knowledge of the episode: “I didn’t know they got the pay raises until yesterday.”

Said one administration official: “My jaw dropped when he said that.”

Rounds Says Pruitt Criticism Is Just ‘Nitpicking’

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) defended embattled Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, saying much of the scrutiny seems to be “nitpicking,” NBC News reports.

Said Rounds: “I don’t know how much of it is overblown and how much of it is accurate, to be honest. I’m not going to call it fake news. I’ll say in some cases we’ll overblow something, but in this particular case Mr. Pruitt has been doing a good job as the secretary of the EPA. He is moving forward exactly as this president said he would.”

Gowdy Says He’s Looking Into Pruitt

House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) indicated he has begun inquiring into EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s activities, according to a video shot by activists on Friday, Politico reports.

Said Gowdy: “I don’t have a lot patience for that kind of stuff.”

“Gowdy didn’t say whether his committee has begun a formal investigation of Pruitt or some more preliminary review, but he said that public servants must ‘be a good steward’ of taxpayer money.”

Pruitt Spent Millions on Security

“EPA chief Scott Pruitt’s concern with his safety came at a steep cost to taxpayers as his swollen security detail blew through overtime budgets and at times diverted officers away from investigating environmental crimes,” the AP reports.

“Altogether, the agency spent millions of dollars for a 20-member full-time detail that is three times the size of his predecessor’s part-time security contingent.”

Pruitt’s Landlord Forced Him Out

“Scott Pruitt was only supposed to be living in the Capitol Hill condominium that has become a focal point of his latest ethics controversy for six weeks last year, while he got settled in Washington,” Politico reports.

“But the new EPA administrator didn’t leave when his lease ended, instead asking the lobbyist couple who became his disgruntled landlords to revise his lease several times.”

“The couple, Vicki and Steve Hart, became so frustrated by their lingering tenant that they eventually pushed him out and changed their locks.”

Kelly Wants to Fire Pruitt

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly told President Trump last week “that he is convinced EPA chief Scott Pruitt needs to step down after a series of negative reports about his spending habits and management style,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Though Mr. Kelly and other White House aides have concluded Mr. Pruitt should leave, the president is not ready to fire him… Mr. Trump welcomes the deregulatory measures taken by Mr. Pruitt and also values him as a strong advocate for the president’s agenda.”