Published: Thu, April 12, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Top federal ethics official calls EPA chief Scott Pruitt's conduct 'extremely concerning'

Top federal ethics official calls EPA chief Scott Pruitt's conduct 'extremely concerning'

A top government ethics official wants the Environmental Protection Agency to address any violations linked to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's spending habits, his condo lease from a lobbyist and his personnel decisions.

Trump also defended Pruitt in a tweet on Saturday, saying the secretary has "received death threats because of his bold actions at EPA".

Oliver went on to play clips from Pruitt's disastrous interview with Fox News's Ed Henry, in which he faced a brutal grilling over his $50 per night condo rental from a lobbyist.

Despite the sturm und drang around the announcement by embattled EPA chief Scott Pruitt that he will relax emission limits for 2022 through 2025 vehicles, not much will happen immediately. "I don't mean to denigrate Mr. Pruitt, but doggone it he represents the president of the United States and it is hurting his boss".

EPA Intelligence has "not seen any analysis to indicate why the Administrator would be at any greater risk on a commercial airline than any other passenger, or why a trained EPA (Private Security Detail) member could not protect the Administrator in a different location on the aircraft [than in the business or first-class section]", the memo adds. Concerns include Pruitt's use of taxpayer money, hiring practices, ethics and more.

EPA's inspector general is now auditing Pruitt's security spending - one of at least five ongoing probes by the agency's watchdog into spending and ethics issues surrounding the administrator.

Pruitt has done a fantastic job of showing he can be a friend - by hiring an Oklahoma banker who gave Pruitt three mortgages and a loan and who later was banned for life from banking by federal regulators, to oversee the Superfund program at $172,000 a year.

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Pruitt has done a fantastic job of quelling dissent by demoting, reassigning or forcing out five aides who questioned his spending and management practices.

Richard Painter, who served as George W. Bush's chief White House ethics lawyer, called Pruitt's choice to accept the offer "disgusting" and "flat-out wrong". But the AP found no evidence of any arrests or criminal charges related to such threats, and the EPA provided no evidence of any when it was requested.

Pruitt has been under scrutiny for several questionable expenditures, including his swollen security detail blowing through overtime budgets and at times diverting officers away from investigating environmental crimes.

Courts have determined that Pruitt's EPA has ignored clear legal statutes by delaying a regulation on methane emissions from new gas and oil wells, an action that was ruled illegal.

In justifying his constant security, EPA officials have said he has received far more threats than previous administrators - some of them "very personal, ugly threats", an assistant inspector general told The Post a year ago.

Pruitt has said his use of first-class airfare was initiated following unpleasant interactions with other travelers. But she also called for congressional oversight on the issues and argued that on policy alone Pruitt was "the wrong person to head the EPA".

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