Scott Pruitt And All Those Bodies!
GO THE FUCK AWAY!
Police department legend includes one story, apocryphal perhaps, in which a class of trainees searching one quadrant of the park for a missing person was reminded by a Southwestern District shift commander, with tongue planted in cheek, that they were looking for one body in particular: "If you go grabbing at every one you find, we'll be here all day."
-- David Simon, Homicide, 1991
Writing about Scott Pruitt is like searching for a body in Baltimore's old Leakin Park. The Editrix dispatches you to hit the latest story on the EPA swamp creature.
"Which one," you ask. "There've been fifteen Pruitt items in the past hour. Is it the aides resigning? The lobbyist landlord? The airfare? The false testimony to Congress?"
"I'm sure you'll do a great job," Editrix replies. She even adds an emoji, to soften the blow. But you know that you are well and truly fucked. Because Scott Pruitt is the Leakin Park of political stories -- there's always another body.
Which is a lot of words to say that you're getting the Pruitt highlight reel today. And probably every day until this swampiest of swamp monsters finally oozes his way out the door. Congressional Republicans clearly want him gone, but they don't want to be there standing over the body when the Koch brothers come to collect their favorite son. And so they continue to announce inquiries and clear their throats loudly while the undead Pruitt stumbles from scandal to scandal. So we'd best get to typing before another four Pruitt stories float up out of the muck.
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Scott Pruitt has done a lot of stupid things, but crapping all over one of Trump's handpicked loyalists is probably one of the stupidest. Because the Pruitt corruption stories all blend together into a monotonous drone. But Kevin Chmielewski's account of being fired because he refused to sign off on Pruitt's preposterous expense requests is pretty compelling. He's a Maryland Republican, so he's had to make better arguments than "Jesus Loves the Red Team." Here's his interview with ABC.
PHILLIPS: When Pruitt testified to Congress recently, he said he was not aware of any employees being pushed out for raising red flags. Was he just straight out lying?
CHMIELEWSKI: Bold-faced lying.
This guy's not a Democrat -- he says he would still "go through a brick wall" for Trump or Pence. And he's going to lead Congressional investigators right to whole pile of bodies.
Et tu, Nino?
Pruitt's security thug Pasquale Nino Perrotta is appearing before the House Oversight Committee today to splain the congressmen how he came to authorize hundreds of thousands of dollars of first class travel and install the illegal $43,000 phone booth in Pruitt's office.
In an AMAZING COINCIDENCE, Perrotta resigned yesterday. As did Albert Kelly, Pruitt's buddy from Oklahoma whom he appointed to run the Superfund program after Kelly got banned for life from the banking industry.
"When I said my landlord didn't lobby me, what I meant was ..."
Remember how Scott Pruitt was renting a fancy apartment for $50/night from DC lobbyist Steven Hart, but it was totally fine because Hart wasn't lobbying him at the time? Yeah, about that.
Here's an email from Hart to Pruitt's chief of staff Ryan Jackson seeking spots on the EPA's science advisory board for three of his client Smithfield Foods's preferred representatives. They are experts on the salutary effect of pigshit on the water supply, ALLEGEDLY. The NYT broke the story, noting the email was sent, "a few weeks after Mr. Pruitt had moved out of the apartment, but at a time when he still owed Mr. Hart’s wife money."
Oh, THOSE Lobbyists!
Speaking of lobbyists, someone please splain us what the EPA Administrator was doing spending $16,000 in taxpayer moneys to fly to Morocco to discuss natural gas exports and eat in fancy restaurants on a trip organized by a lobbyist who gets $40,000 per month to represent the Moroccan tourism and film industry. And then please tell us why another lobbyist arranged a special mass with the Pope in Rome for Pruitt, a Southern Baptist.
Photo via EPA
Per the Times,
Like [Richard] Smotkin [the lobbyist for Morocco], [Leonard] Leo [the head of the Federalist Society] has enjoyed privileged status at the E.P.A., according to a former agency official, who said that requests made by them were treated as a priority. If either called Mr. Pruitt’s office “and asked for something, we did it, it doesn’t matter what it was,” said the former official, who requested anonymity for fear of running afoul of Mr. Leo, who is powerful among conservatives in Washington.
Isn't it nice that Pruitt can reciprocate his host's attentions.
No offense to Tulsa, but ...
No, we do not need to spend millions of dollars erecting a secure EPA facility in Tulsa for Scott Pruitt to work in when he gets his staff to dummy up a reason for him to fly home to Oklahoma for the week on the taxpayer dime. There is a small field office in Tulsa and a secure facility 250 miles away in Dallas. JUST STOP, DUDE!
It's not a bribe! Well, not exactly ...
Sometimes when you're facing 11 federal investigations you need to hire a lawyer. But that costs money! So Scott Pruitt would like to set up a legal defense fund where people who care deeply about the EPA's mission can show their love by writing checks to lawyers for EPA employees. Paging Messrs. Smotkin and Leo!
NOTHING ABOUT THIS IS FINE.
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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.