Tuesday, 18 September, 2018

Watch Scott Pruitt accidentally admit to violating federal law

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt appears before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on the Interior Environment and Related Agencies on budget on Capitol Hill in Washington Wednesday Watch Scott Pruitt accidentally admit to violating federal law
Patty Aguilar | 18 May, 2018, 13:43

Udall pointed to reports, including one in the New York Times that said that Pruitt had encouraged the use of lights and sirens, even in non-emergency situations.

Inspector General Arthur Elkins says his office will review the matter despite budget and staff constraints.

At one point, the lawmaker asked Pruitt to provide details on how he had enlisted aide Millan Hupp to help locate local apartment rentals for him last summer.

"You were an AG, a law enforcement officer - CFR regulations prohibit directing a subordinate to do personal work for you, and if they volunteer that's a gift", Udall said.

"So your answer is no", Van Hollen replied, noting that Pruitt had just directly contradicted a letter from the EPA inspector general stating that Pruitt had "requested 24/7 protection once he was confirmed as Administrator".

Sen. Tom Udall, a Democrat who has called on Pruitt to resign, asked him about reports he liked his motorcade to use the vehicles' flashing lights and sirens to cut through traffic. Altogether, the agency has spent about $3 million on Pruitt's 20-member full-time security detail, which is more than three times the size of his predecessor's part-time security contingent. That's not to mention Pruitt's pricey private flight habit and $43,000 soundproof phone booth, all on the taxpayer dime.

During the hearing, protesters sitting behind Pruitt silently rose up, waving signs suggesting that Pruitt should be fired. "I did that as attorney general and I would trust that will happen at a federal level as well", Pruitt said. That challenges Pruitt's account that the round-the-clock security was a result of threats against him after taking office.

"We need more information, not less", Pruitt said.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt acknowledged Wednesday that one of his top aides helped him search for housing past year - a potential violation of federal law - but said she had done so "on personal time".

Protestors at a Senate hearing Wednesday morning called on EPA administrator Scott Pruitt to be fired over the multiple scandals at his agency.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt testifies before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on the Interior Environment and Related Agencies on budget on Capitol Hill in Washington Wednesday

The EPA chief, ringed by his aides and security personnel, appeared to ignore them.

"I share your concerns about some of these decisions", he said.

Pruitt is now under investigation for travel costs, pay raises for aides, and retaliation against whistle blowers among other allegations. Cindy Hyde-Smith of MS, who thanked Mr. Pruitt for visiting her state and overhauling the EPA.

Pruitt met with a law firm representing the Orange County Water District that employs Hewitt last October, according to internal emails obtained by Politico earlier this month.

The latest investigation is looking into whether those records have been properly kept.

"What a silly reason to fly first class", Leahy said.

"A threat to a federal employee's personal security is extremely serious, but so is using security as pretext for special treatment on the public dime", the senators said in a joint statement.

As he did repeatedly throughout the hearing, Pruitt attempted to dodge the question.

Despite the myriad scandals, President Trump has stood by Pruitt's side.

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