EPA Told to Speed Up Investigation Into Pruitt’s Conduct at Agency

WASHINGTON (CN) – A federal watchdog wants the Environmental Protection Agency to pick up the pace on its investigations into Administrator Scott Pruitt’s ballooning list of ethics violations before it can recommend “corrective action” to President Donald Trump.

On Friday, David Apol, acting director of the Office of Government and Ethics sent a letter to the EPA’s Inspector General Arthur Elkins Jr.

In the letter, Apol lists a series of recent news reports that have raised concerns anew about Pruitt’s conduct at the agency.

Reports that he used his multi-million dollar security detail as a personal errand service – for moisturizer at one point and dry cleaning at another, according to a June 7 report by the Washington Post – “raise concerns about whether the administrator misused his position,” Apol wrote.

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt leaves a “National Day of Prayer” event in the Rose Garden of the White House, Thursday, May 3, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The Office of Government and Ethics, or OGE, has been investigating Pruitt since early April.  Apol’s first round of inquiries was set off by reports alleging Pruitt took advantage of a sweetheart real estate deal from the wife of an energy industry lobbyist, as well as extravagant spending of taxpayer funds for first-class travel and more.

But newer reports alleging Pruitt bought a Trump International Hotel mattress and asked EPA staffers to help his wife, Marilyn Pruitt, potentially purchase a Chick-fil-A franchise, have ramped up the need for even more scrutiny, the letter explains.

“I know that you are already looking into the alleged conduct I raised in my April 6 letter. OGE now requests that you also investigate and analyze the newly alleged conduct described above. Further, it is our understanding that you plan to issue a report concerning the previous and possibly new allegations,” Apol wrote. “We ask you to complete your report as soon as possible so that we can decide whether to begin a formal corrective action proceeding in order to make a formal recommendation to the president.”

On Friday, when Trump fielded questions from reporters about Pruitt’s status at the agency, he offered both confidence and concern.

“I’m looking at Scott and Scott’s done a fantastic job at EPA. I’m not happy about certain things. I’ll be honest,” Trump said.

 

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