A scandal EPA chief Scott Pruitt may not be able to survive


Rachel Maddow Show / The MaddowBlog

A scandal EPA chief Scott Pruitt may not be able to survive

By Steve Benen     April 2, 2018

FILE PHOTO: EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks during a meeting held by U.S. President Donald Trump on infrastructure at the White House in Washington,…Kevin Lamarque

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s latest scandal came up during a roundtable discussion on ABC’s “This Week” yesterday, and it led to an interesting exchange between George Stephanopoulos and former Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.).

STEPHANOPOULOS: Does he have to go?

CHRISTIE: Listen, I don’t know how you survive this one. And if he has to go, it’s because he never should have been there in the first place.

The former Republican governor, who was briefly tapped to lead Donald Trump’s transition team before being replaced the week after the election, had a series of related concerns, which seemed to be part of an effort to avoid blame for the president’s mess.

But at the heart of the message was an important observation: common sense suggests the EPA chief’s scandal will cost him his career. The traditional political rules sometimes don’t apply in the Trump era, but in this instance, I think Christie’s correct.

As we discussed on Friday, the first sign of trouble came when Pruitt took a first-class trip to Morocco late last year – it cost $40,000 and you paid for it – in order to have the EPA chief pitch “the potential benefit of liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports on Morocco’s economy.”

Why the head of the EPA would make economic energy recommendations to foreign countries was unclear. The answer, however, soon after seemed to come into focus.

The only LNG export plant in the country hired a lobbyist, and Scott Pruitt lived in a Capitol Hill condo – for $50 a night, far below market value – in the Capitol Hill home owned by the lobbyist’s wife.

And in case the story weren’t quite alarming enough, ABC News also reported on Friday afternoon, “The Environmental Protection Agency paid a Capitol Hill condo association $2,460 after Administrator Scott Pruitt’s security detail broke down the door, believing he was unconscious and unresponsive and needed rescue, ABC News has confirmed.”

Apparently, Pruitt was napping at the time.

The same report added the EPA chief’s adult daughter also lived there during her time as a White House intern last year.

Pruitt was already one of the most controversial members of the president’s cabinet, but this mess is almost certainly the most serious scandal of his tenure. Or as Chris Christie put it, “I don’t know how you survive this one.”

Postscript: The energy lobbyist in question is J. Steven Hart. If his name sounds at all familiar, it’s because Hart is also assisting the NRA in its controversy surrounding foreign assistance it’s accused of receiving.


Lebowsky Dude: Scott Pruitt in the EPA is a scandal, republicans absolutely violated their pledges to this country by confirming him, and every single day this cretin remains in the government is a bad day…

Lebowsky Dude: To put this into context, its a scandal that many members of congress were found to be sleeping in their offices because of the high cost of housing in Washington DC… To have this loser getting a special deal from a lobbyist is actually criminal if you ask me…

Pruitt was napping… Evidently destroying the environment is tiring work. Another interesting attempt at lessening the the scope of this graft is Pruitt saying he only used one bedroom (as most people do), sounds like only wanting to pay for the seat you occupied on a chartered jet.

Author: John Hanno

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Bogan High School. Worked in Alaska after the earthquake. Joined U.S. Army at 17. Sergeant, B Battery, 3rd Battalion, 84th Artillery, 7th Army. Member of 12 different unions, including 4 different locals of the I.B.E.W. Worked for fortune 50, 100 and 200 companies as an industrial electrician, electrical/electronic technician.

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