Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt seems a virtual perpetual motion machine of scandals. With 11 different federal probes into his conduct, two of his top aides quit their jobs in the middle of the investigations, according to the New York Times. I certainly will not deny my opposition to many of the actions taken by Pruitt, who is widely viewed as one of the most anti-environmental EPA chiefs in history. However, this is not about policy differences. Trump is fulfilling his campaign promise to reduce regulations and he is entitled to take the EPA in a different direction. Rather this is about fundamental values of good government. Pruitt continues to be an embarrassment in his relations with lobbyists and alleged spending of public funds — a sharp and glaring contradiction to the pledge of Donald Trump to “drain the swamp.”
Albert Kelly, head of the EPA’s Superfund program and Pasquale Perrotta, Pruitt’s chief of security, have resigned.
In the meantime, career staff have directly contradicted Pruitt in a number of keys respects, including his earlier denial to Fox News of the excessive salary raises give to his key aides. The 11 federal investigations cover an expanding list of legal and ethical concerns over Pruitt’s conduct. Perrotta was central to some of those allegations.
Pruitt seems to have an ever-expanding record of controversies involving lobbyists, including a former lobbyist arranging his controversial planned trip to Australia.
Pruitt also received a highly beneficial deal on an apartment from a lobbyist in Washington and windfall deals on luxury homes with lobbyists before coming to Washington.
It is astonishing that the Trump Administration would continue Pruitt in this job after his appalling judgment and obvious self-dealing.