This was the perfect example of “death by a thousand paper cuts.” Scott Pruitt “resigned” from his position leading the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday. While the official line is that he resigned, but he was probably pushed.
Pruit is being investigated for 14 different incidents but was suspected of more, the latest of which was the accusation that he kept two sets of calendars to hide some meetings.
Today CNN reported about what might very well have been the last straw:
In a letter sent to the EPA’s Inspector General Thursday, Democratic Reps. Don Beyer of Virginia and Ted Lieu of California referenced the CNN report, which also aired on “Anderson Cooper 360.”“Willful concealment or destruction of such records is a federal crime carrying penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment,” they wrote in the letter.An EPA spokesperson told CNN Thursday, “Despite continued false accusations there are no secret calendars or schedules. EPA has released the meetings and events Administrator Pruitt has attended — which the media has already reported as meetings with industry — and to report anything else would be categorically false.”
Yesterday Pruitt and his wife were at the White House for the Independence Day barbeque, but just a few hours after CNN reported about the congressional letter, President Trump made the announcement on Twitter.
…on Monday assume duties as the acting Administrator of the EPA. I have no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda. We have made tremendous progress and the future of the EPA is very bright!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 5, 2018
And as they say, there’s the rub. Other senior members of the Trump administration wouldn’t have lasted that long with all of the scandals chasing him, but the President believed he was doing a good job. Pruit would probably tell you that he was targeted by Democrats who didn’t like the fact that he was easing up on the anti-jobs EPA regulations. But if that is true and Pruitt knew about it, then the EPA Chief should have kept his nose clean. Democrats shouldn’t celebrate because whoever replaces Scott Pruitt will have the same agenda–it came from President Trump.
It was indeed death by a thousand paper cuts Axios listed many of “paper cuts;”
- He reportedly ordered raises for two aides, despite the White House rejected his request. He later said he was unaware of the raises.
- He spent $3 million of taxpayer funds on an extensive security detail, which was three times bigger than his predecessor’s.
- Biometric locks were installed on his office doors for $5,700, Politico reports.
- He came under fire for renting a bedroom near Capitol Hill from a lobbyist for $50 a night. He told the Washington Examiner: “I’m dumbfounded that that’s controversial.”
- The agency installed a $43,000 private phone booth in his office.
- He has spent over $105,000 on first-class flights, per Politico, citing “threats to his safety.”
- He had a tendency to want to use flashing lights and sirens on his motorcade to cut through D.C. traffic — including at least one trip to a popular French restaurant, Le Diplomate.
- A former Comcast lobbyist helped the agency set up a trip to Morocco in December, which cost $100,000, despite original claims that it would cost $40,000.
- Pruitt accepted seats at a University of Kentucky basketball game for him and his son from a billionaire coal executive.
- His staff spent over $1,500 on fountain pens, CNN reported, and more than $1,600 on journals.
- His director of scheduling and advance, Millan Hupp, says Pruitt asked her to perform personal tasks, which included a request for a Trump hotel mattress.
- He told his allies in the conservative movement that Hupp lied in her testimony and could not be trusted implying that “she should not be hired at their institutions,” reports the Daily Beast.
- He tried to use his position to get his wife a job as a Chick-fil-A franchisee, per the Washington Post.
- Pruitt requested that his 24/7 security detail help him find “a favorite moisturizing lotion” offered at Ritz-Carlton hotels, and retrieve his dry cleaning without him, the Washington Post reported.
- He sent employees during the work day to “pick up his favorite snacks and treats,” per the Daily Beast, including particular finger foods, Greek yogurt, and more.
- He enlisted the help of a top aide to find his wife a job by reaching out to Republican donors, the Washington Post reported. The Post later reported that the aide was told to find a job which offered a salary topping $200,000.
- He put the former treasurer of his political action committee, Elizabeth Beacham White, in charge of the EPA’s Office of the Executive Secretariat, which oversees FOIA requests, Politico reported.