EPA Head Defends Saintly Scott Pruitt's Unimpeachable Honor (And The Money He Stole From Us)
It's the sheer brazenness! After the Griftpocalypse of Scott Pruitt's tenure as head of the EPA, Andrew Wheeler, the coal lobbyist who replaced him, has the absolute nerve to go before Congress and insist that ACTUALLY, it's the EPA's Inspector General who is confused.
"There are a number of errors in that report," EPA Chief Andrew Wheeler insisted under questioning by House Appropriations Member Mike Quigley (D-IL) about an IG Report that found Pruitt committed numerous possible ethical lapses and charged $123,942 in inappropriate travel expenses.
QUIGLEY: The EPA Inspector General report issued last May, nearly a year ago, found that Mr. Pruitt had spent more than $985,000 on travel expenses in a 10-month period. The IG found a litany of possible ethical violations by Mr. Pruitt and his around-the-clock security, and that actions "are needed to strengthen the controls over EPA's travel and prevent fraud waste and abuse."￼￼ They also identified $124,000 of taxpayer dollars that could be recovered from Mr. Pruitt for his inappropriate travel. Two questions: Have we, the $124,000, has that been recovered?￼
WHEELER: No there are number of errors in that report. That was, even though it was broken down to the specific cents, the IG ￼told me at the time it was a rough estimate. They ignored the fact, actually they attributed half the cost to the administrator and half the cost to the protective detail, ignoring the fact that the protective detail was required to fly with the administrator wherever in the airplane he happened to be. So they ignored that part of the law. So that number should be cut in half.
Upon further questioning, Mr. Wheeler acknowledged that zero dollars had been recovered from Mr. Pruitt. Not the $124,000 from the IG report, not the $62,000 Wheeler himself acknowledged was inappropriately spent, not one red cent. Nonetheless, he was absolutely certain that it's the IG who is wrong, not saintly Scott Pruitt.
Sorry, your Wonkette is going to need a minute here. Because we covered Scott Pruitt's entire tenure at the EPA. And in addition to gutting environmental protections, we remember one or twelve little ethical whoopsies from that time.
Like the apartment Pruitt rented from an energy lobbyist with business before the agency for significantly less than fair market value.
Or asking EPA employees to provide personal services for him, like finding him an apartment, tracking down that hand lotion he liked so much, sourcing a spunk-stained mattress from the Trump Hotel, and fronting his travel expenses on their personal credit cards, after which he sometimes forgot to reimburse them.
There was the time he leaned on a former EPA employee to get his wife Marlyn a six-figure job with the Republican Attorneys General Association. And the time he leaned on the chairman of Chik-Fil-A to grant the Missus a coveted franchise license.
And the time he used funds allocated to hire water safety experts to give his admin staff from Oklahoma a raise, after the Presidential Personnel Office explicitly refused to do it. One of those employees seems to have taken three months of personal days in a row, LOL!
Or, more relevant to Mr. Wheeler's assertions that the IG was just full of shit when it dinged Pruitt for his travel expenses, there are the numerous reports from EPA employees that Pruitt found excuses to travel on Mondays and Fridays, the better to stick the taxpayer with the bills to fly him home to Tulsa on weekends, and replaced the head of EPA security with a thug who would happily certify that Pruitt absolutely needed to fly first class, if not on a private jet, as well as having an armored car with sirens to get to important lunch dates.
So, when Mr. Wheeler balks at going after Pruitt for $62,000, well ... it kind of sticks in our craw.
VOTE THESE GRIFTY SUMBITCHES OUT.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.