Press Releases

Pruitt Admits To Breaking The Law

In Senate hearing Pruitt admits violation of gift rule during housing search; matter is currently under investigation by EPA Inspector General

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Washington, May 16, 2018 | comments

Scott Pruitt today admitted in a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing to violating federal regulations when he accepted the services of his direct subordinate, Millan Hupp, without paying her [exchange here]. Hupp assisted Pruitt in his housing search last year, Pruitt confirmed, without pay, a violation of the Code of Federal Regulations (administrative law governing federal employees, laid out by the Office of Government Ethics). The EPA Inspector General confirmed to Congressman Beyer last month that this matter is the subject of one of its investigations into Pruitt’s many scandals.

Other notable exchanges from the hearing of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies:

  • Pruitt was again unable to say whether one of his senior-most aides, Samantha Dravis, had shown up for work over a period of three months. He confirmed that Dravis “was the head of policy at the EPA,” that he had "interacted with her multiple times" during the period of November 2017 to January 2018, that the "schedule shows she was attending meetings," and that she "was employed at the agency." He refused to definitively state that she had actually gone to work [exchange].
  • Pruitt told Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) he did not “recall” ordering his security detail to put on lights and sirens to get through traffic on his way to fancy restaurants. Senator Tom Udall promptly produced an internal email from the head of Pruitt’s security detail saying that Pruitt “encourages the use” of “lights and sirens.” [exchange]
  • Pruitt said he had “limited interaction” with his former Deputy Chief of Staff Kevin Chmielewski, and that he was “not aware of any personnel decision” regarding Mr. Chmielewski, who told Members of Congress that Pruitt retaliated against him for whistleblowing [exchange].
  • Pruitt told Senator Shelley Moore-Capito (R-WV) he was “not aware that there had been some holding back” of a report on potentially deadly levels of water contamination because of “public relations” concerns, as reported by Politico yesterday [exchange].

  • Pruitt confirmed that he had set up a legal defense fund in anticipation of legal issues arising from the many investigations into his unethical activities. He was readily able to answer that he would not accept contributions to that fund from lobbyists or corporations with business before the EPA, but was unable to flatly tell Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) that he would refuse to accept anonymous donations, despite the extremely thorny ethical issues such donations would represent. [exchange]
  • After the Office of the Inspector General publicly contradicted Pruitt’s previous testimony to Congress that his unprecedented, 24/7 security detail was justified by threats to his personal security, Pruitt attempted to shift his narrative through frequent use of the passive voice (“the decision was made”) and misdirection about timing. He did not, however, directly refute the suggestion that he had personally requested this unprecedented and expensive personal security detail when he took office. [notable exchange here]

Representative Beyer was the first Member of Congress to issue a formal statement calling for Scott Pruitt’s resignation. He led 64 House Democrats urging the President to dismiss Pruitt, and has led numerous oversight initiatives focused on Pruitt’s tenure at the EPA. He serves as the Vice Ranking Member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and the Ranking Member of its Subcommittee on Oversight, and as co-Chair of the Congressional Safe Climate Caucus.

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