Scott Pruitt, The Wunderkind Of Grift, Is Running For Oklahoma Senate
Let's cut to the chase: There will be no consequences for Scott Pruitt and his henchmen for treating the EPA like their own little fiefdom.
These goons scammed the Environmental Protection Agency for every possible perk, and they'll never have to give back a nickel of the hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money wasted on luxury airfare, hotels, and vehicles. Not to mention using government staff to source a pre-spunked mattress from the Trump Hotel, that special lotion Pruitt liked so much, and a new apartment once it became clear that paying $50/night to rent space from a lobbyist with business in front of the EPA was not going to work.
But it still matters that the government is trying to reckon with the damage, even all these years later, not least because Pruitt hasn't slunk off in shame, never to be heard from again. This filthy sumbitch is actually running to be a senator in US America! The very nerve!
So, with that in mind let's try to make sense of the latest Pruitt fuckery unearthed by the New York Times.
The Times led with the "funny" stuff from a heavily redacted 2018 report arising from a whistleblower complaint against the head of Pruitt's security detail. Apparently the EPA Administrator was chronically late and given to forcing his drivers to turn on the emergency lights and siren to get him to dinner on time.
“Can you guys use that magic button to get us through traffic?" Pruitt would say. And even though agency regulations said that the emergency equipment was only to be used in case of actual emergencies, they'd dutifully comply. Particularly after one member of the security detail refused to do it and found himself out of a job shortly thereafter. Which is how the team wound up "using lights and sirens, driving contra-flow against oncoming traffic" one day when Pruitt was "35 minutes late to his staff meeting and directed that he be taken to pick up his dry cleaning prior to going to the office." Eventually the drivers took to telling him that the emergency equipment was actually broken, so as to be able to comply with agency policy without getting fired for crossing the Administrator.
The report also focused on Pruitt's constant overspending on airfare and hotels, sometimes forcing his security staff to dip into their own pockets to cover the difference between federal reimbursement rates and the cost of rooms near the luxury suites he preferred. Which is almost as gross as using funds reserved for expert environmental witnesses to give favored staffers a 60 percent pay raise after the White House told you explicitly not to do it.
None of which is exactly news. Your Wonkette covered it at the time, and we've got a pretty good idea as to the identity of both the whistleblower and the security goon. But still, if that grifty sumbitch wants to weasel his way back into public life, damn right we need to keep talking about it.
And in fact this 2018 report isn't just surfacing four years later out of the blue. Yesterday the Office of Special Counsel (not Mueller, the was the Special Counsel's Office) sent the White House a report on the investigation of wrongdoing at the EPA under Pruitt. The report arose out of complaints by four separate whistleblowers, and, long story short, nobody's going to pay a price for this shit. Not for the $123,942 in “excessive airfare"; not for the the $43,238.68 “soundproof privacy booth" in Pruitt's office, because he was too lazy to walk downstairs to the EPA SCIF; not for the $52,407.09 of "expenses incurred in furnishing the former Administrator's office." Everybody involved has left government service and is basically beyond the reach of the executive branch.
But you know who did pay a price? The whistleblowers.
"The whistleblower emphasized the great personal costs of blowing the whistle on these critical issues and also raised procedural concerns," the report reads.
"I thank the whistleblowers for bringing these serious allegations of wrongdoing to OSC," Special Counsel Henry Kerner wrote. "And I acknowledge the whistleblower's above concerns indeed, OSC echoed and worked to address many of them following report, which OSC determined was not sufficiently responsive to our referred allegations — and I share in the disappointment and frustration that some of EPA OIG’s recommendations took nearly three years to resolve."
Which is cold comfort to Kevin Chmielewski, a former Trump campaign staffer who wound up in a job at the EPA and got crosswise with Pruitt after he refused to greenlight Pruitt's security spending. Chmielewski acknowledged to the Times that he's one of the four whistleblowers in OSC report.
“It is almost a kick in the face,” said Mr. Chmielewski, 43, who said he has been unable to get a new job with the federal government or national political campaigns since he first went public with the allegations in 2018. He now works as a general manager of a restaurant near Ocean City, Md., earning less than a third of his former federal government wages.
And perhaps Scott Pruitt has already barfed out a statement about the Deep State trying to murder him because they're afraid he'll be such a good senator for the people of Oklahoma. Or maybe he's busy trying to grift a Chick-fil-A franchise for his wife, and hasn't gotten around to it yet. So it bears pointing out that Special Counsel Kerner worked for John McCain, Darrell Issa, and Jason Chaffetz before being nominated to his current position by Donald Trump. Something to keep in mind when that shameless bastard tries to blame Biden for trying to tank his campaign.
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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.