Last night, the White House confirmed that it’s investigating EPA chief Scott Pruitt for alleged violations of federal ethics rules. Pruitt had been renting a Capitol Hill condo for $50 a night, well below market value, from a Washington, D.C. energy lobbyist, who also used the home to throw lavish fundraisers for Republican members of Congress. While Pruitt was renting the condo, the EPA greenlit a massive pipeline expansion project for his landlord’s client, a Canadian oil company.
In January 2017, Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt penned an op-ed urging Pruitt’s Senate confirmation. Laxalt dismissed criticism that Pruitt is in Big Oil’s pocket as a “scare tactic” from “fringe” environmentalists. Pruitt’s slick real estate deal with a Big Oil lobbyist is just the latest evidence he’s unfit for the job, but to Laxalt, putting wealthy special interests ahead of duty is standard practice.
Like Pruitt, Laxalt knows what it’s like to have his judgment and ethics called into question. There’s his inexplicable lone ‘no’ vote against pardoning an innocent man that raised questions about his “fitness to be governor,” and subsequently politicizing his official staff to fight press inquiries intended for his campaign. And there’s the time Laxalt was caught on tape trying to get the state to intervene in a lawsuit on behalf of Sheldon Adelson, his biggest donor, which led to his being subpoenaed by the state legislature and being asked to recuse himself from the investigation.
Nevada State Democratic Party spokesperson Helen Kalla released the following statement:
“Adam Laxalt was wrong about Pruitt from the beginning — as it turns out, Pruitt isn’t just in Big Oil’s pocket, he’s literally living in their house. To no one’s surprise, Laxalt’s pick for EPA chief is the ultimate corrupt swamp-dweller who can’t stop racking up ethics scandals. Laxalt’s failure to call for Pruitt’s resignation reminds us all of his own poor judgment and complete disregard for basic ethics.”