Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is under scrutiny for abusing his office and misusing the taxpayer money. Ethics watchdogs, federal auditors, and congressional committees are looking into his activities and financial dealings at the agency.
Several news reports claim that Pruitt’s foreign trips were planned with significant help from outside interests, including lobbyists, Republican donors, and Conservative activists.
According to a recent report by CNN, Pruitt reimbursed himself nearly $65,000 from his two campaigns. This has raised a lot of questions about the EPA chief’s intentions and ability to head the agency.
Meanwhile, Massachusetts Senator Edward Markey, in a letter to Scott Pruitt on Friday, asked the EPA administrator to provide more details on the role of lobbyists and non-governmental individuals in setting the agenda for his international travel.
In his letter to the EPA chief, Markey asked Pruitt to provide details of the dates, destinations, cost, purpose, time, and agenda of the trip. He also asked Pruitt to provide names and coordinates of individuals and organizations outside the U.S who helped arrange these trips. Pruitt was also asked the disclose events and meetings that occurred during his visit to a foreign nation.
Markey said Pruitt’s trips which involved “excessive” and “unjustified” first-class travel came at the cost of the taxpayer money.
“The outsized role you have given lobbyists and non-governmental individuals in setting both your domestic political agenda as well as your international travel are concerning and leads to even more questions about your ability to objectively serve the American people,” stated Markey in his letter. (Read the full letter here).
On Thursday, Senators Tom Carper and Sheldon Whitehouse questioned the EPA signing of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Water-Gen, an Israeli company backed by Sheldon Adelson. Several details have come to light regarding the numerous meetings between Pruitt and Water-Gen executives. As reported by the Washington Post this week, Water-Gen’s technologies were supported by Adelson, a financial supporter of the Republican Attorney Generals Association (RAGA), and Ed Russo, the U.S. CEO of Water-Gen and a long-time consultant to the Trump Organization.
A draft itinerary of Administrator Pruitt’s scheduled but canceled trip to Israel, obtained by committee staff, outlines a planned public announcement of EPA’s Water-Gen CRADA.