Pruitt Fights for Job in Meeting With Trump

Apr 08, 2018, 00:42
Pruitt Fights for Job in Meeting With Trump

Almost every day has brought new accusations of ethics violations or improper spending.

The Associated Press is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats. NPR's Rebecca Hersher is here to help us sort through it. Pruitt's premium status gave him and his security chief access to VIP airport lounges.

HERSHER: Too many scandals.

Pruitt has come under intense scrutiny for ethics issues and outsized spending. First, there was the size of his security staff. Pruitt spent millions to more than triple his personal entourage-and created full-time government jobs in the process. We've actually known about that since last August. Other reports said that his top aides from Oklahoma-where Pruitt is from-received large raises, though Pruitt said he was unaware of the raises, and that the EPA chief asked for sirens and lights to speed up his trips around Washington, D.C. And then the condo.

Questions about Pruitt's lease stem from a bedroom he rented in a Capitol Hill condo from health care lobbyist Vicki Hart under terms that allowed him to pay $50 a day - but only for the days it was occupied. In addition to not paying rent and refusing to leave, Pruitt might also prompt the destruction of property.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats have called for investigations into the latest ethics concerns by the EPA inspector general.

KELLY: OK. And one other new wrinkle to throw in. Indeed, they may prefer a hobbled Pruitt at EPA than a new administrator who they might not be as able to easily target.

President Trump says he still has confidence in the embattled EPA chief who is strongly backed by business leaders and prominent conservatives who have mounted a campaign of support.

At least three congressional Republicans and a chorus of Democrats have called for Pruitt's ouster.

A raft of stories about EPA chief Scott Pruitt's lavish spending, questionable housing arrangements and personnel decisions have dominated the headlines. But Pruitt got an ornate refurbished desk comparable in grandeur to the one in the Oval Office. And when he was told by a security official, you know, that's really for emergencies, that official was reassigned. "And they love Scott Pruitt". Pruitt has also sat for a series of interviews with largely conservative news outlets to defend himself _ though even supporters acknowledge he did himself no favors with a Fox News interview this week in which he seemed unable to fend off some of the allegations. They love Scott Pruitt.

HENRY: Hold on a second. So. Elevated was EPA Senior Special Agent Pasquale "Nino" Perrotta, who, according to the AP, is "a former Secret Service agent who operates a private security company".

HENRY:.Mr. Hart is at Williams & Jensen, right?

"Pruitt has taken efforts to weaken the agency of its scientific expertise".

HERSHER: Here's the problem with that.

A spokesman for Steven Hart in the meantime stated that he's not an power lobbyist and that he didn't foyer the EPA or Vitality Division in 2017. He represents a big natural gas exporter. "Naturally, that means he has ruffled some feathers", said Tom Pyle, head of the American Energy Alliance, a free-market advocacy group. And he represents two other companies that are now negotiating with the EPA over fines or cleanup costs for pollution.

"I don't", he told The Oklahoman. "Hasn't been easy", Trump said Thursday on Air Force One. Trump liked the idea, officials said, but his administration regarded it as foolish at best and potentially disastrous, fearing it could become a spectacle that would undermine the president's anti-regulatory push. They feel very strongly about Scott Pruitt.

At a December meeting to discuss Pruitt's plan, a deputy of Kelly's said the plan was "dead" and not to be discussed further. Rebecca Hersher, NPR's science reporter.

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