President Trump’s top environmental regulator has been accused by Senate Democrats of violating his own ethics agreement.
Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt allegedly failed to seek proper authorization before partaking in a lawsuit over ozone standards set by the Obama administration. Pruitt had an interest in the case as a plaintiff, while Oklahoma Attorney General.
“Under your tenure as Administrator, the EPA has already asked the courts five times to delay consideration of a lawsuit,” five Democratic Senators said, in a letter sent on Monday. “In at least four of the lawsuits, you had represented the state of Oklahoma … seeking to vacate the very rules in question.”
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The lawmakers — Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) — said that Pruitt should have, but did not, clear his participation in filings involving the Ozone case with internal ethics officers.
They pointed out that Pruitt, himself, had agreed to recuse himself from litigation in which he represented Oklahoma for one year after being confirmed, “unless I receive informed consent” from federal officials.
“We all continue to believe that during your confirmation process you should have committed to recuse yourself extensively from a number of maters,” the lawmakers added.
The letter marked the second in five weeks that Pruitt’s word has been called into disrepute. He had been accused of lying to Congress in late March by five lawmakers — Sens. Carper, Whitehouse, Markey, Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
The senators had cast aspersions on Pruitt’s credibility, after public records requests showed he used private email for official business, as Oklahoma’s top prosecutor, contradicting previous assertions.