Pruitt - in or out?


#41

@dragonfly9 Thanks for the link to the NYT article about Pruitt’s shady dealings during his Oklahoma years. My brain hurts from trying to follow all the dubious money trails.

Here’s a Vice News piece that summarizes 10 of the federal investigations he is facing. Maybe now the state of Oklahoma will open a few more.

And here’s another suspicious move by Pruitt. It looks like he may have been using multiple email accounts to cover his tracks. The importance of this revelation is that investigators will now need to check if Pruitt has actually turned over all the emails they have requested or has withheld emails that were in these outlying accounts.


#42

You got that right…not only does one’s head hurt, but acknowledging the outright gall of this man. All in the name of big Ag (see breaking propaganda rule), big power player (see bullying via demotions to those who try to call out his scurrilous ways), and big stuff (see sirens and motorcades, travel, housing needs for a pittance for Mr. Big Man)

And the multiple emails to razzle dazzle his way outta the scope of any watchdog.

From the 1st Vice article…great finds @Keaton_James

"an already tense time for Pruitt, who has been under fire for a series of scandals, including the misuse of funds for his personal security detail, demoting or assigning employees who tried to call out issues, and extravagant travel spending to name a few. "

This guy has got to go…like yesterday.

But finding a less enabling Congress…and a Prez, who’s dream cabinet appointee is getting his backers needs met…well, it’s really such a sham right now.


#43

All spelled out here…

Interpreting emails between Pruitt and Hart w/ a meeting set up between them, with acknowledgement that Pruitt was with EPA (July 2017)

Meeting initiated-with Hart, representing Smithfield Foods, and EPA head Pruitt and Dennis Treacy (former Smithfield Food exec). Lobbying efforts were made to help Smithfield Foods out regarding an EPA fine in 1999 for 12 Million for illegally dumping pollutants into the Chesapeake Bay.

Yet the White House does not criticize Pruitt
Support from Marc Short - WH Dir of Legislative Affairs who says he has full support from the Prez.


#44

Pruitt’s performance in front of two congressional committees this week could be key in determining how long he remains at the agency’s helm. The back-to-back House hearings scheduled for Thursday – nominally on the EPA budget – are set to be Pruitt’s first public appearance on Capitol Hill since the deluge of damaging revelations that began late last month. . . .

White House officials have discouraged lawmakers from vigorously defending the administrator, said the two people, who asked for anonymity because the discussions weren’t public.

Finally – some cracks are appearing in the Republican façade that has been protecting Pruitt. I’m setting my DVR to record those hearings on Thursday. They could be quite a show, especially if the sources in this article are correct and lawmakers are quietly being asked to dial down their defense of Pruitt. While he is at bat, it will be telling to see who pitches hardball, and who, (if anyone) pitches softball.


#45

Yup, I will too
…should be an interesting Q & A, and not an attaboy time.
If the Fox interview was any standard with those withering critiques, let’s hope that Congress does the same.


(Matt Kiser) #46

The White House is cautioning Republicans and conservative allies to temper their defense of Scott Pruitt. Four Republicans and 170 Democrats have called on Pruitt to step down.


#47

Pruitt tells the White House to get lost? Wow – the guy’s got moxey. It just may not be well directed. I don’t think that’s the way you want to respond to people who have the power to fire you.

Pruitt’s imminent public grilling is shaping up to become yet another bigly embarrassment for Trump. It makes you wonder if Pruitt will even hang on to his job long enough to make an appearance – just two days from now.


#48

There are at least 10 federal investigations focused on Pruitt’s first-class travel, unusually large security detail, frequent association with lobbying interests, pay raises for staffers, and, somehow, more.

Yet he’s still there.


#49

LA Times Editorial Board is calling out this man - “Pruitt has to go.”

The deluge of corrupt actions, double-dealing with Corporations who are getting the upper hand in environmental issues and flat out gluttony has got to end now.

We’re awaiting his day in front of Congress on Thursday.

Excerpt
"Pruitt’s move follows his directive last year that scientists who receive grants from the EPA can no longer serve on the agency’s scientific advisory boards because, he argued, they have a conflict of interest. The result: Industry representatives and industry-friendly state officials have replaced academics in helping the agency frame policy. Pruitt has also ordered a rollback of higher emissions standards for motor vehicles, consolidated in his office decision-making on which waterways fall under the Clean Water Act and targeted for repeal more than 20 other regulations. Fortunately, several state attorneys general and nonprofit environmental watchdog groups have formed something of a legal firewall with court challenges over Pruitt’s dangerous actions. But suing isn’t the same as winning, and more reasonable voices in Washington must stand up to Pruitt and to the threat he poses to clean air and water, and to the health of the nation.

Pruitt has to go. His ethical lapses are legion. He allegedly took a sweetheart deal last year for cheap living space in a Washington townhouse co-owned by the wife of an oil lobbyist. He has squandered taxpayers’ money on a soundproof phone room in his office, on exorbitant trips, and in using a round-the-clock security detail even when on personal business. The EPA say he needs the security (which has already cost nearly $3 million) because of threats; a Buzzfeed reporter, however, says the agency told him that it could find no records of threats."

“But the real problem with Pruitt is his unrelenting efforts to undermine the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and other protections that have reduced pollution and saved millions of American lives without undermining the U.S. economy. Making a profit and having a clean, safe environment are not mutually exclusive.”


#50

Rolling in a new guy in the event Pruitt leaves or gets thrown out…it gets worse, right? A Coal lobbyist???


#51

Oh a coal lobbyist…good ole clean coal.


#52

Watch live - ( Not on Cspan -streaming I believe only). Scott Pruitt in front of House Energy and Commerce Committee


#53

Pruitt got grilled by the Dems and praised by the R’s for the most part. The R’s defended him by praising his reducing the many regulations that EPA does put on companies. Texas praised him for helping to clean up via a super fund the chemicals spilled due to Hurricane Harvey.

The battle lines were clearly drawn.

Pruitt denied that he had done anything wrong, by saying he’d learned from his ways - ie travel costs, never met in a lobbying type meeting with Steven Hart, but met at a non-profit event, or whether he authorized higher salaries, which he tried to obfuscate by saying the pay raise was delegated to someone else.

The exchange with CA Rep Anna Eshoo tried to get to the heart of the matter, which is Pruitt - why did you do these unlawful things, do you at all feel remorseful…and then her final retort. “This is not dodge-question day.”

Excerpt
Travel expenses

Representative Anna G. Eshoo, a California Democrat, had scathing criticism for Mr. Pruitt when her turn for questioning came Thursday morning. “You have a solid record of violating ethics rules from the state level to the federal government,” she told him. “I think it’s an embarrassment.”

Then she asked: “Do you have any remorse? Yes or no?”

Mr. Pruitt responded: “I think there are changes I’ve made already. I’ve made a change from first class to coach travel.”
Photo

Mr. Pruitt before his testimony. He was not summoned specifically for questioning on his alleged misconduct. Both appearances Thursday were routine budget hearings.

Ms. Eshoo returned to her call for a yes-or-no answer, and asked Mr. Pruitt whether he would reimburse the government. He launched into a long response, but she cut him off."

“With all due respect, I may be elected, but I’m not a fool,” she said. “This is not ‘dodge-question’ day.”


#54

These guys break it all down with dramatic flare👇

NPR podcast Embedded
Episode: Trump Stories: Scott Pruitt
APRIL 26, 2018
https://www.npr.org/podcasts/510311/embedded


#55

WOW…Pruitt’s allegiances spelled out.

No use trying to use any logic beyond “pay for play” efforts to protect the environment - see Tyson Farms in Oklahoma, where his benign neglect to go after them is apparent.

Can not believe this flat out larceny of the good earth, though.

But maybe the nickname - ‘possum’ is the best joke out of this NPR listen.

Thanks for the link @Pet_Proletariat


#56

Let’s hope they do a thorough job.


#57

Here’s some ‘inside baseball’ perspective on what it is like to cover Scott Pruitt from an investigative journalist’s POV. Unfortunately, Pruitt’s ‘bland non-answers’ will serve him well, and the other R’s who support him.

So it feels as much a charade as ever, despite all the egregious behavior. Pruitt has righted his own ship so to speak by saying, he’s rectified his travel practices, remaining unperturbed by any suggestion that he’s done something wrong.

Excerpt
"I’ve now covered Mr. Pruitt’s congressional testimony several times, so I’m familiar with his style. For all the controversy and criticism swirling around him, he always manages to deliver a calculatedly calm, low-wattage performance. He deflects, defuses and never loses his temper. At the center of the red-hot controversy is a beige career lawyer, who is a master of the bland non-answer. It’s a tactic that enrages his Democratic opponents, but also ensured that he emerged from previous congressional grillings battered but unbroken."

And, in the end, that was what happened. The Republican condemnation of one of their own never came. Mr. Walden and his colleagues on the committee delivered a few slaps to Mr. Pruitt’s wrist, but went on to sing the praises of his policy work."

"_emphasized text_While Democrats pressed him on the ethics matters, the administrator delivered a classically Pruittian performance, insisting calmly but repeatedly that he simply had no knowledge of many of the decisions that drew national scrutiny to his department. For now, I’m guessing I’ll still be covering Mr. Pruitt’s tenure in the months to come."


(Lynn) #58

Apparently the ksa’s most prized in trump’s world are the ability to lie & deny with a straight face…?


#59

More pressure on Pruitt - Here are statements from whistleblower Kevin Chmielewski who was Chief of Staff for EPA’s Scott Pruitt. More than a thousand documents are being requested in this growing inquiry, per ABC News.

Excerpts
"Chmielewski was put on administrative leave without pay earlier this year for what he says was retaliation for pushing back on Pruitt’s decisions.

“They didn’t wanna touch it with a ten-foot pole. Understandably. I mean, at this point I’m going up against a cabinet secretary. Who wants to do that? I sure didn’t want to, and still don’t want to. But that’s apparently where I’m at now,” he said to ABC News. "


ABC News obtained a personnel form from EPA officials that says Chmielewski resigned on March 17, however the form was not signed by Chmielewski.

He says he was forced out of his position a month earlier when he refused to sign off on first-class flights for one of Pruitt’s aides.

“I refused to do it. And, once again, I think that was some of the beginning of the retaliation, and why you know, cause I said absolutely not. And I kinda got in trouble behind closed doors for not signing that. Just Kevin, “Sign it. You know, be done with it.” And the last thing I was doing was signing off on that,” Chmielewski said."


#60

This article is an excellent read, but if you’re tight on time, here’s a summary (and anyone please correct me if I stray from the facts).

Pruitt has been caught up in two corruption scandals surrounding the purchase of a house during his days as a state legislator in Oklahoma:

  1. Pruitt was part of a group of investors who bought the house “at a steep discount from a lobbyist, Marsha Lindsey, who worked for a telecommunications company with business before the state legislature. . . . [The group paid] a discount of about $100,000 from what Ms. Lindsey had paid a year earlier. Her employer, the telecom giant SBC Oklahoma . . . picked up the shortfall under her retirement package.” (My editorial comment: So wasn’t this purchase tantamount to the lobbyist making a hidden $100,000 payment to a group which included Pruitt?)

  2. The group also included the lobbyist, Justin Whitefield, whose causes Pruitt vigorously championed before the Oklahoma state legislature over many years. At no time did Pruitt disclose his business relationship with Mr. Whitefield to the public or the state legislature. The house purchase was made via “a shell company. . . . Mr. Pruitt’s name does not appear on any public documents related to the company; nor does Mr. Whitefield’s. Mr. Pruitt said the company was not a shell company, but a limited liability company. ‘Which is normally how you buy real estate in Oklahoma,’ he said.” (Yeah, right – another editorial comment from me.)