Scott Pruitt, the One Man Too Unethical Even For Trump, Resigns as EPA ChiefPhoto courtesy of Getty Politics News Scott Pruitt
Scott Pruitt is out at the EPA. His reign proved to be so corrupt that even Trump couldn’t keep him on, and if you want to know about his governing philosophy for the Environmental Protection Agency, well, you should know exactly who he was protecting. From CNBC:
As EPA administrator, Pruitt made the case that the agency’s primary responsibility is to offer certainty to the energy companies, automakers and other business interests it regulates. He sidelined agency scientists, sought to ease environmental rules and encouraged staff to think of the companies it regulates as its customers. He stood with the president on issues that divided the administration, like pulling the United States out of the Paris climate agreement.
But of course, that would just make him an ordinary Republican, and it’s not why he was fired. He was fired because he couldn’t stop spending the agency’s money in ethically dubious ways. There’s this:
Pruitt came under scrutiny last year for his frequent travel, sometimes in first class, to his home state. The EPA’s inspector general opened an investigation into the matter in August.
Reports then surfaced that EPA had installed a custom-made soundproof phone booth in Pruitt’s office at a cost of $43,000 to taxpayers. That sparked several investigations, with the Government Accountability Office concluding in April that EPA violated federal laws by approving the expenditure without congressional approval.
Soon after, reports surfaced that Pruitt had an arrangement for part of 2017 to pay just $50 a night for an apartment on Capitol Hill owned by the wife of a prominent energy lobbyist. Pruitt was charged only for nights he occupied the space.
Around the same time, The Atlantic reported that EPA had orchestrated pay raises worth tens of thousands of dollars for two of Pruitt’s close aides after the White House had rejected the salary change.
Two days later, the New York Times reported that several EPA officials had been reassigned or demoted after questioning Pruitt or refusing to sign off on pricey expenses. One of the staffers, former Trump campaign aide Kevin Chmielewski, ultimately detailed a litany of allegations against Pruitt in interviews with congressional Democrats.
Pruitt came under fire for tasking aides and security staff with performing personal chores: searching for housing, fetching his dry cleaning, inquiring about purchasing a used mattress from Trump International Tower in Washington and contacting Chick-fil-A to line up a franchise for his Pruitt’s wife.
You get the picture—this guy was corrupt from the word “go,” and even the likes of Trey Gowdy, who spends most of his time in front of a mirror reenacting the time he yelled at Hillary Clinton about Benghazi, saw fit to investigate him.
Here’s his whiny post about “unrelenting attacks” on him and his family, which follows his pattern of blaming everyone else:
— Fin Gomez (@finnygo) July 5, 2018
Trump announced that Andrew Wheeler, Pruitt’s deputy, will take over at the EPA when Pruitt leaves on Friday. It is a very good bet that Wheeler will be far less corrupt on a day-to-day basis than Pruitt, but every bit as ruinous to the environment.
Update: Here are a few of the places Wheeler has lobbied for, courtesy of ProPublica:
With Scott Pruitt’s resignation, Andrew Wheeler is the EPA’s new acting head.
— ProPublica (@ProPublica) July 5, 2018