Washington Post: “On climate change, Pruitt shares Trump’s skepticism of mainstream science and has offered a reality-TV-style way to make their case: a televised show in which Pruitt would debate a climate scientist. In an effort to support Trump’s trade stance, he devised a plan to impose stricter fuel-efficiency standards on vehicles made by foreign automakers, even though White House lawyers argued it was illegal. And he has suggested he could take a leading role in renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, on the grounds that he could strike a better deal with Mexico than the president’s current advisers.”
“Senior staff members at the Environmental Protection Agency frequently felt pressured by Scott Pruitt, the administrator, to help in personal matters and obtain special favors for his family, according to interviews with four current and former E.P.A. officials who served as top political aides to Mr. Pruitt,” the New York Times reports.
“The officials said that Mr. Pruitt, who ‘had a clear sense of entitlement,’ in the words of one of them, indicated that he expected staff members’ assistance with matters outside the purview of government.”
The aides said that Pruitt “told them that he expected a certain standard of living akin to wealthier Trump Cabinet members. The aides felt as if Mr. Pruitt—who is paid about $180,000 a year—saw them as foot soldiers in achieving that lifestyle.”
“Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, is expected on Friday to send President Trump a detailed legal proposal to dramatically scale back an Obama-era regulation on water pollution… It is widely expected to be one of his agency’s most significant regulatory rollback efforts,” the New York Times reports.
“And, as soon as Monday, the same official said, Mr. Pruitt is expected to publish another major change: his agency’s legal proposal to gut President Barack Obama’s rule to reduce climate-warming pollution from vehicle tailpipes. That proposal risks triggering a court battle with California and raises the prospect that the American car market could be split in two, with different groups of states enforcing different pollution rules.”
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), who has known EPA Administrator Pruitt for years and hails from the same state, told Laura Ingraham on her radio show that the endless scandals surrounding Pruitt may require him to step down.
Said Inhofe: “I see these things, they upset me as much as they upset you. And I think something needs to happen to change that. One of those alternatives would be for him to leave that job.”
EPA chief Scott Pruitt “last year had a top aide help contact Republican donors who might offer his wife a job, eventually securing her a position at a conservative political group that has backed him for years,” the Washington Post reports.
“The job hunt included Pruitt’s approaching wealthy party supporters and conservative figures with ties to the Trump administration. The individuals said he enlisted Samantha Dravis, then serving as associate administrator for the EPA’s Office of Policy, to line up work for his wife.”
Six House Democrats asked the FBI to launch a criminal investigation into EPA chief Scott Pruitt for reportedly using his office in a bid to secure work for his wife, the Washington Post reports.
In a letter, the lawmakers said Pruitt had used his office for “the personal gain of himself and his family, in violation of federal law.”
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt “asked members of his 24/7 security detail to run errands for him on occasion, including picking up his dry cleaning and taking him in search of a favorite moisturizing lotion,” the Washington Post reports.
“Pruitt, who also has enlisted agency staffers in tasks including apartment hunting and securing a mattress for his personal use, faces congressional scrutiny over an expanding number of spending and management decisions. Federal rules bar public officials from receiving gifts from subordinates, including unpaid services, and from using their office for private gain.”
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt “loves eating at the White House mess, an exclusive U.S. Navy-run restaurant open only to White House officials, Cabinet members and other dignitaries. But apparently he liked it too much, and the White House asked him to please eat elsewhere sometimes,” Politico reports.
“In response to Pruitt’s recurring use of the restaurant next to the Situation Room in the basement of the West Wing, a member of the White House’s Cabinet affairs team told agency chiefs of staff in a meeting last year that Cabinet members shouldn’t treat the mess as their personal dining hall.”
“Republicans on Capitol Hill are growing frustrated with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt — and many are now publicly questioning whether he can hang on to his job amid the unending stream of scandals,” Politico reports.
“Several GOP lawmakers said their patience was running thin after this week’s news that Pruitt sought to buy a used mattress from the Trump Hotel and inquired about securing a Chick-fil-A franchise for his wife. And Pruitt’s circle of confidantes inside the agency appeared to be shrinking as well.”
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt “used his official position and EPA staff” to help his wife open a Chick-fil-A franchise, the Washington Post reports.
“Pruitt’s efforts on his wife’s behalf — revealed in emails recently released under a Freedom of Information Act request by the Sierra Club — did not end with Chick-fil-A. Pruitt also approached the chief executive of Concordia, a New York nonprofit organization. The executive, Matthew Swift, said he ultimately paid Marlyn Pruitt $2,000 plus travel expenses to help organize the group’s annual conference last September.”
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) blasted allegations of ethical misconduct by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, calling him “about as swampy as you get,” Bloomberg reports.
“Pruitt’s tenure at the Environmental Protection Agency is under intensifying scrutiny, with at least 10 federal investigations probing his $50-per-night rental of a bedroom in a Capitol Hill condominium from a lobbyist, his frequent taxpayer-funded travel and his spending decisions.”
Said Ernst: “He is about as swampy as you get here in Washington, D.C., and if the president wants to drain the swamp, he needs to take a look at his own cabinet.”
The EPA’s inspector general said that Scott Pruitt began receiving round-the-clock security from the moment he stepped foot inside the agency, the Washington Post reports.
“The inspector general’s office, which investigates threats made against any EPA employees, ‘played no role in this decision.’ At the EPA, no prior administrator has received 24/7 protection.”
President Trump “has been souring on Pruitt as the negative press about him piles up,” according to Jonathan Swan.
“Pruitt — who is under siege from federal investigators, the White House, Capitol Hill, and the media — survives because the one guy who matters in the White House won’t fire him. Trump’s draining supply of goodwill towards Pruitt is the EPA administrator’s lifeline. Most everyone else in the building wants him gone.”
A CNN analysis “has found that embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt paid himself nearly $65,000 in reimbursements from his two campaigns for Oklahoma attorney general, a move at least one election watchdog has sharply criticized as being recorded so vaguely that there was no way to tell if such payments were lawful.”
“The reimbursement method, which Pruitt used in his 2010 and 2014 campaigns, effectively scuttled two key pillars of campaign finance: transparency about how campaign funds are spent and ensuring campaign funds are not used for personal purchases.”
Federal documents obtained by the Washington Post “reveal that it fit a pattern” by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt “of planning foreign travel with significant help from outside interests, including lobbyists, Republican donors and conservative activists.”
“After taking office last year, Pruitt drew up a list of at least a dozen countries he hoped to visit and urged aides to help him find official reasons to travel, according to four people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal agency deliberations. Pruitt then enlisted well-connected friends and political allies to help make the trips happen.”
“As EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt faces a seemingly endless stream of scandal, his team is scrambling to divert the spotlight to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. And the White House isn’t happy about it,” The Atlantic reports.
“In the last week, a member of Pruitt’s press team, Michael Abboud, has been shopping negative stories about Zinke to multiple outlets… The stories were shopped with the intention of ‘taking the heat off of Pruitt,’ the sources said, in the aftermath of the EPA chief’s punishing congressional hearing last week.”
“A third top EPA official is leaving the agency amid intensifying scrutiny of Administrator Scott Pruitt’s travel, spending and condo rental,” Bloomberg reports.
“Liz Bowman’s departure follows two others just this week… The exodus comes amid steep criticism of Pruitt — including calls by at least 170 Democratic lawmakers and four Republicans for his ouster.”
“There are at least 10 formal investigations into Pruitt.”
“A Washington consultant and onetime lobbyist for foreign governments played a central role in attempting to set up a trip to Australia by Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, while the consultant took steps to disguise his role,” the New York Times reports.
“The disclosures add to the list of individuals from outside the government who have worked to influence foreign travel by Mr. Pruitt.”