I hate to say it, folks, but it looks like Scott Pruitt is at it once again. The current EPA administrator has faced scrutiny since Day One thanks to his industry-friendly reputation and regulation-slashing policies and things are only getting worse. (For more on Pruitt’s policies, check out this article). Report after report has come out in the last few weeks highlighting Pruitt’s mismanagement of the agency and corrupt behavior, and now people are starting to seriously call for his removal.
Back in February, Pruitt came under fire when the public found out that he has cost the department hundreds of thousands of dollars just on travel and first-class airline tickets. He insisted he can’t fly in Business Class with all the regular people because they don’t like him and might be mean to him. To be fair, he’s not delusional; they really don’t like him. While Pruitt faced significant backlash for these excessive trips and travel costs, he ultimately made it out unscathed.
Pruitt’s luck may be running out, however, as his extravagant spending habits are once again coming in to question. He wanted to spend $70,000 on new desks for his office, one of which was bulletproof. That desk wasn’t purchased but two other ones were, still totaling thousands of dollars of taxpayer money. Pruitt also installed a soundproof phone booth that cost $43,000 and, because he failed to get approval for the spending, violated federal law. Pruitt is also draining the EPA’s funds with his expanded security detail of 20 members, three times more than the previous director had. Not only is this security detail enormous, but it is on duty 24-hours a day and must follow Pruitt wherever he goes.
Pruitt has certainly gotten some heat for his spending, but what’s got people calling for his resignation/firing are his beyond-shady ethics. In March, a report came out revealing that Pruitt had been leasing an apartment in DC for just $50 a night, only paying for the nights he stayed there. Who made him this too-good-to-be-true offer, you ask? Who else would it be but a lobbyist couple whose firm had lobbied to the EPA on behalf of an Oklahoma energy company and who were political donors of Pruitt’s? The couple has since kicked Pruitt out, but the story tipped off an avalanche of stories of similar corrupt behaviors coming out what seems like every day. Another report exposed how Pruitt had reassigned or demoted EPA officials who voiced concerns about the management and spending of the agency and gave raises to his favorite aides and yet another report brought attention to a meeting with the National Mining Association that some argue violated anti-lobbying laws.
Yikes. The list of Pruitt scandals is shockingly long and continues to grow with every new report released about his management of the EPA. His gross abuse of power has sparked bipartisan, high-ranking calls for his removal from office and, with almost no one taking his side, it’s getting harder for him to skirt by them safely. It seems the clock is ticking for Pruitt and if he continues on his current path, he might not be around at the EPA much longer.