Feds Just Tightened The Noose On Scott Pruitt With 10 Separate Corruption Investigations: Report
The controversies surrounding EPA’s chief Scott Pruitt keep piling up, and so have the federal investigations. Now, even the EPA’s internal watchdog has lots of questions for Pruitt, as does the top federal ethics watchdog, and the House Oversight Committee.
According to Vice News, there are at least 10 federal investigations focused on Pruitt’s first-class travel, unusually large security detail, frequent association with lobbying interests, pay raises for staffers, and, somehow, more. The mounting appearance of misconduct and corruption at the EPA has started to attract not just the attention of Democrats — 170 of whom have called for Pruitt’s resignation — but Republicans, too.
Pruitt, despite the overwhelming evidence of blatant corruption at the helm of the EPA, has denied any wrongdoing
But the EPA’s internal watchdog has made four investigations public and confirmed a fifth to VICE News, according to the report. A spokesperson stressed, however, that several other investigations had not yet been made public.
The latest investigation concerns Pruitt’s security detail accompanying him on a trip to the Rose Bowl and Disneyland, with his family. They’re also investigating three other instances when Pruitt brought his security on trips, paid for by taxpayers.
Pruitt has spent an unusually large amount of federal cash, at least $3 million, keeping himself safe. While past administrators have had what’s called “door-to-door” security — a detail that follows them to work in the morning and back home in the evening — Pruitt has surrounded himself with a round-the-clock team.
The internal watchdog is also looking into the pay raises the EPA gave to three political staffers after three Democratic senators — Tammy Duckworth, Tom Carper, and Sheldon Whitehouse — asked the agency to check them out. To give the raises, Pruitt used a loophole in a safe drinking water law designed to give the EPA chief necessary leeway to bring on scientists without wading through red-tape.
The House Oversight Committee also wants to know what’s up, and has asked the EPA chief to turn over all records related to the condo he rented from the wife of an oil and gas lobbyist for just $50 a night, as well as details about his security detail.
A group of Democratic lawmakers wrote a letter to Pruitt demanding answers after a former EPA staffer — who also happened to be a former Trump campaign adviser — gave juicy details on basically every scandal that Pruitt’s facing.
There’s also a probe from Republican Sen. John Barrasso, the head of the Senate Environmental Committee, who was, until recently, a major Pruitt apologist. Sens. Jeff Merkley and Tom Carper, both Democrats, had revealed in their own letter to federal investigators that Pruitt has toggled between four separate email addresses to conduct his work at EPA.
In response, Barrasso demanded records related to Pruitt’s use of multiple email addresses, which looks to Barrasso like a way to evade public records requests.
Finally, the Government Accountability Office concluded this week that Pruitt’s office broke the law by spending $43,000 on a soundproof booth meant to up his security and privacy. Under federal law, Pruitt’s office need to run any purchases above $5,000 by Congress before pulling the trigger.
In short, it appears that Scott Pruitt has taken corruption to a whole new level.