Ethical polluting agent: The toxic embarassment of Scott Pruitt


"Scott Pruitt can not shift the blame for his scandals to his aides or career EPA employees, said Democratic Representative Don Beyer, a member of the House Natural Resources Committee".

For the same reason, EPA staffers have said, Pruitt switched to flying first class after an individual approached him in an airport a year ago and used vulgar language. Even White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders could not suppress a wry smile this week when asked during a media briefing about the Environmental Protection Agency administrator's enlistment of an aide to hunt for a secondhand mattress from the Trump International Hotel in Washington. "And you know, somebody has to say that about you a little bit", Trump said.

"No matter how much Scott Pruitt might like Chick-fil-A, public officials are strictly prohibited from using their public positions for the private gain of others, such as endorsing their products", Mr. Evers said.

Late last month, the federal agency blocked reporters from several news outlets from attending a national summit where Pruitt was speaking.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) called on Pruitt to resign immediately. The EPA in August spent $1,560 on a dozen customized silver fountain pens emblazoned with the agency's seal and Pruitt's signature. The opportunity, according to one former EPA senior staff member, was exploring the possibility of a Chick-fil-A franchise for Pruitt's wife.

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Pruitt in appearances before congressional hearings this spring has denied responsibility for any ethical lapses, saying subordinates made those decisions. One of them, scheduler Millan Hupp, shopped for apartments and looked into acquiring a used Trump Hotel mattress at the administrator's request.

For his part, Pruitt suggested the criticism, investigations and unending stream of negative revelations about him were all political attacks motivated by his efforts to roll back environmental regulations.

"EPA is doing really, really well", Trump said at an event at Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters attended by Pruitt.

"The administrator didn't mention a specific topic but I will touch base with him to see if there is one", Hupp said in one email.