Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt spent today being grilled on Capitol Hill as a cloud of ethics scandals hangs over his tenure and his job hangs by a thread. One voice who has continued to stay utterly silent throughout this downward spiral of controversies at EPA (despite bipartisan calls for Pruitt’s resignation) is Nevada’s Republican Sen. Dean Heller.
Nevada Democratic State Party spokesperson Sarah Abel released the following statement:
“It shouldn’t be hard to come out against a corrupt member of the President’s Cabinet when they abuse our tax dollars and get sweetheart deals from the industry lobbyists he’s supposed to be regulating. But when it comes to Scott Pruitt, Sen. Heller has been more concerned with pandering to President Trump than looking out for those he’s supposed to represent. Heller’s spineless silence on the embattled Environmental Protection Agency head hasn’t gone unnoticed, and Nevada voters can see clearly that their senator can’t be counted on to stand up for them.”
Here’s a list of times Heller had the opportunity to call for Pruitt’s resignation or denounce his behavior—but didn’t:
- A government watchdog agency concluded that the EPA violated federal law in spending more than $43,000 to install a private phone booth in Pruitt’s office.
- The lobbyist whose wife rented a condo to Scott Pruitt lobbied the EPA while Pruitt was leading it, contrary to his and Pruitt’s public denials that he had any business before the agency.
- Trump’s EPA considered renting a private jet for Scott Pruitt at a taxpayer cost of roughly $100,000 a month.
- The EPA signed off on a project for an energy company represented by the firm of the lobbyist that Pruitt accepted a deal from to rent a Washington condo at far below market value.
- The lobbyist-owned townhouse Scott Pruitt rented was also used as a Republican fundraising hub.
- Scott Pruitt wasted more than one hundred thousand taxpayer dollars on first class airfare during his first year in office.
- Pruitt took advantage of an obscure provision to give raises to two of his closest aides, and then falsely claimed he didn’t know about it.
- The EPA’s inspector general office planned to examine Pruitt’s use of round-the-clock security detail while on personal trips, including a family visit to Disneyland and attendance at sporting events.
- The EPA spent about $45,000 in government money to fly five of Pruitt’s aides to Australia to prepare for a planned trip that was later canceled.
- The EPA’s inspector general released a report showing the agency granted previously undisclosed pay raises of more than20 percent to several of Pruitt’s political employees.
- “Former Pruitt aide allegeslitany of wasteful spending, extravagant travel by EPA chief.”
- Pruitt’s former deputy chief of staff told lawmakers that Pruitt insisted on staying in luxury hotels that werecostlier than allowed by government standards and pushed to fly on an airline not on the government’s approved list so he could accrue more frequent flier miles.
- Pruitt allegedly chose travel destinations based on adesire to visit particular cities or countries rather than reasons related to official business.
- Pruitt allegedlyroutinely asked his staff to “find reasons” for him to travel to Oklahoma so that he could stay in his home state for long weekends, often at taxpayer expense.
- Pruitt allegedly paidno rent while he stayed at a lobbyist-owned condo on Capitol Hill.
- Pruitt’s aide Millan Huppimproperly used federal government resources and time after Pruitt assigned her to act as his personal real estate representative.
- Pruitt’s former deputy chief of staff said that Pruitt was aware of major raises given to two close aides,contrary to what the administrator has claimed.
- Former EPA deputy chief of staff Kevin Chmielewski said he was pushed out of the agency after herefused to retroactively approve the first-class travel of one of Pruitt’s closest aides.
- Pruitt sought torefashion the EPA “challenge coin” to prominently feature his name and drop the agency’s logo.
- Pruitt has used four separate EPA email addresses since taking office, prompting concerns among agency lawyers that the EPA has notdisclosed all the documents it would normally release to the public under federal records requests.
- EPA’s inspector general is conductingat least ten federal investigations related to Pruitt, including into questionable spending by his security detail.
- Former EPA deputy chief of staff and Trump campaign aide Kevin Chmielewski never filed required financial disclosure forms during his year in the Trump administration, a potentiallyserious offense that in other cases has resulted in a criminal charge.
- Pruitt’s trip to Morocco to promote LNG couldbenefit Carl Icahn, who holds a controlling stake in the largest U.S. natural gas exporter and helped Pruitt secure his Cabinet position.
- Pruitt’s chief of security clashed with top EPA officials who challenged Pruitt’s spending andsteered at least one EPA security contract to a business associate.
- A senior EPA official received approval to collectoutside income from clients, while working for the Trump administration, whose identities are being kept secret.
- Nearly halfof Trump’s EPA political appointees have strong industry ties, including many former lobbyists.