A top Obama White House ethics lawyer just called for a criminal investigation into Trump’s EPA Administrator for a potential quid pro quo or bribery scheme.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt lied to hide a meeting with energy lobbyist J. Steven Hart, whose wife Vicki Hart acted as the Trump official’s landlord at the “Williams & Jensen condo,” only charging $50 a night.
Mr. Hart lied to the media last month, saying he had no contact with Scott Pruitt, but The Hill discovered his lobbyist registration for Smithfield Foods and the EPA’s calendars indicated a meeting happened between the two men under the guise of a matter handled by the Chesapeake Bay Commission last year.
Former Obama ethics attorney Norm Eisen – who is Chairman of the DC watchdog C.R.E.W. – says Pruitt and Hart’s secret encounter could be criminal.
— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) April 22, 2018
The Harts are longtime donors of Pruitt’s in Oklahoma, and J. Steven Hart’s firm Williams & Jensen lobbied the EPA for a pipeline approval while the Administrator was their tenant.
Late last year, Administrator Scott Pruitt took a trip to Morocco for the purposes of promoting American exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG), a highly irregular trip for the top federal pollution regulator, whose mission has nothing to do with promoting commerce.
Ten of Pruitt’s EPA staffers attended the trip which the agency announced was about “the potential benefit of liquified natural gas (LNG) imports on Morocco’s economy.”
There’s only one LNG exporter in America, Cheniere Energy, who bet the farm, a $30 billion investment into a plant on the Texas-Louisiana border that was originally designed for imports before shale oil production unleashed a surplus of American natural gas.
Hart’s firm Williams & Jensen is a registered lobbyist for Cheniere Energy.
Trump buddy/corporate raider Carl Ichan owns a controlling stake in Cheniere. He resigned his role as regulatory advisor under a cloud of suspicious self-dealing, after helping Scott Pruitt land his job atop the EPA.
On the first day of Pruitt’s trip, he only recorded a single one-hour meeting, which came at a taxpayer cost of at least $40,000 for the junket.
Scott Pruitt spent his tenure as Oklahoma’s Attorney General attacking the EPA in court and generally renting his office out to energy lobbyists, after a less than illustrious career in the State Senate which he used to acquire some wonderful real estate from lobbyists.
The Senate just confirmed a coal lobbyist, a Washington insider who doesn’t believe in climate change either, as Pruitt’s top deputy, who would likely assume the top job if Trump finally cans the corrupt Administrator.
However, President Trump is still sticking with his thieving EPA Administrator for now, because of the damage that Pruitt is announcing he will inflict on America’s environment and public health.
The shameful state of affairs at America’s EPA makes today less a celebration of Earth Day and more like a funeral for the upcoming condition of our country’s environment as Trump’s swamp lobby tries to make America great again by encouraging open-air battery burning and more coal smokestacks.