Having already announced that he will not be running for reelection, will Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC), the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee now prove to be as much a thorn in the side of the Trump administration as he was during the endless Obama-era probe of the Benghazi disaster?
Judging from his latest move to expand his committee’s inquiry into the ethical lapses and excessive expenditures made by EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt, he just may prove to be equally dogged in his pursuit of corruption in the Trump cabinet as he was in his relentless excavation of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.
The day after Gowdy’s staff met with a former EPA official who had been pushed out of the agency after complaining about Pruitt’s out of control expenditures on first-class travel, paranoia-level security details, staff raises, and a sound-proof plotting booth, among other issues, the committee chairman announced that it was expanding its investigation into the details of Pruitt’s spending in the department and looking into the travel by his security chief, Pasquale “Nino” Perrotta.
Gowdy sent this letter to Pruitt informing him of the details he would be needing for the investigation.
The committee has requested sit-down interviews with four senior EPA officials: Perrotta; Ryan Jackson, Pruitt’s chief of staff; Millan Hupp, a scheduling and advance aide; and Sarah Greenwalt, a senior counsel to Pruitt. It also requested full testimony from the EPA whistleblower who brought Pruitt’s excesses to the committee’s attention, ousted employee and former Trump campaign aide Kevin Chmielewski.
While the House committee investigation is getting started, the EPA’s own Inspector General is looking at the complaints against the Secretary as well, with an initial report on the first of the many unusual actions taken by Pruitt during his EPA stewardship due to be released on Monday.
For his part Pruitt continues to claim that the complaints are simply the venting of a “group of disgruntled employees who have either been dismissed or reassigned.”
Now that Gowdy has vowed to get to the bottom of the matter, it remains to be seen whether his promise is mere lip service in the face of a growing outcry from a public outraged that the administration of President “Drain The Swamp” Trump is proving to be so massively corrupt or an authentic attempt at oversight by Republicans who up until now have been willing to let the president and his cronies do whatever they want.
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