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Now, Even Some Republicans Want Scott Pruitt Booted From The EPA

But he still has the President's support.

STAFF, SCIENCE AF
3 APR 2018

The current administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt, has had a bad week. A new ABC news report, has revealed that last year, Pruitt rented a luxury condo in Washington DC from an energy industry lobbyist for only $50 a night.

 

Later, it was discovered that while Pruitt rented this condo, he threw no less than three GOP fundraisers in it. At the same time, Pruitt's agency also approved a Canadian company's pipeline expansion – a company that is suspiciously linked to the lobbyist's firm.

In the past, the very same lobbyist has also helped fund Pruitt's political campaigns, including his Oklahoma Attorney General campaign.

Using an obscure loophole in the Safe Drinking Water Act, Pruitt gave the aides who helped find the condo a hefty and unauthorized pay raise.

If the condo's suspiciously low rate was given to Pruitt by the lobbyist for any reason other than a solely personal one, the EPA administrator would be in violation of government ethics rules.

And while the intent of the gift remains unclear, government ethics rules also state that "it is never inappropriate and frequently prudent for an employee to decline a gift if acceptance would cause a reasonable person to question the employee's integrity or impartiality."

For some, this is the last straw. Over the past year, Pruitt's leadership at the EPA has been shrouded in scandals - including his close relationships with industry experts, his penchant for $90,000-worth of first class travel and the paranoid installation of his private, soundproof phone booth.

 

In the past week, several environmental organizations have joined forces to "Boot Pruitt", and around twenty members of Congress have demanded that the EPA chief step down – including two Republicans.

Republican Representative Carlos Curbelo was the first to ask for Pruitt to step down and Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen seconded the call soon after.

In the past day, online criticism for the administrator's "unethical" actions has piled on.

Even the former White House ethics czar under the Bush administration condemned Pruitt's actions.

"Find me a hotel room in Washington, D.C. for $50 a night and tell me that's not a gift from a lobbyist," said Richard Painter.

 

"This is disgusting and no decent ethics lawyer would sign off on that. If that had happened in the Bush administration, I would have shut it down in a minute."

Obama's ethics lawyer concurred.

Never mind the public outcry, several major news outlets have reported that both President Trump and Chief of Staff John Kelly have given Pruitt their undying support.

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