The EPA inspector general is looking into embattled Administrator Scott Pruitt’s $50-per-night apartment rental, travel expenses, security team, controversial raises for staff, use of subordinates’ time and staff reassignments that some have said were retribution.
The litany of ethics reviews were detailed in a letter to Democratic Reps. Ted Lieu of California and Don Beyer of Virginia, which noted that some of the matters may already be under review as part of other inspector general investigations into Pruitt’s behavior while atop the agency.
Some matters will be looked at as part of ongoing reviews, while others “will be the impetus for new reviews,” the letter tells lawmakers.
Pruitt has been under scrutiny for numerous actions that have called his ethics into question, including renting a room in a Washington, DC, condo for under market price from a lobbyist whose husband worked for a firm that has lobbied on energy issues. Pruitt has also been questioned for his use of 24-hour security on vacations and for traveling first class.
CNN also previously reported that several EPA employees who attempted to raise flags regarding Pruitt’s spending had been sidelined or demoted.
Some lawmakers have called on Pruitt to step down from his post as several ongoing probes are looking into his actions and spending, including one by the White House. The House Oversight Committee is also looking into Pruitt.
“I would be shocked if that many people knew who Scott Pruitt was,” Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina said last week. So the notion that I have to fly first class because I don’t want people to be mean to me – you need to go into another line of work if you don’t want people to be mean to you, like maybe a monk where you don’t come in contact with anyone.”
Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Florida, tweeted earlier this month that it’s time for Pruitt to resign “or for @POTUS to dismiss him.”