Controversial Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt still has President Trump’s support, but in the wake of a growing list of his scandalous, unethical personal actions, a group of leading Democratic lawmakers is demanding the Justice Department open a criminal investigation into his conduct.
The letter was sent to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Justice Department criminal division chief John Cronan by six members of the Hosue who are involved with oversight of the EPA, asking for a probe of his violations of federal anti-corruption laws because he has repeatedly used his government position to seek personal gain.
A group of House Democrats have requested that the FBI and Department of Justice launch a criminal investigation into Scott Pruitt, The Daily Beast reports.https://t.co/rp0LL4wmCC
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 8, 2018
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It was sent by Democratic House members Ted Lieu of California, Gerald Connolly and Donald Beyer of Virginia, Jamie Raskin of Maryland, Ruben Gallego of Arizona and Pramila Jayapal of Washington state.
Connolly is a senior member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee on Government Operations.
“At the very least,” the six said in the letter, “we know that federal ethics laws bar public officials from using their position or staff for private gain.”
“Administrator Pruitt hs certainly done just that,” continues the letter. “Further, his actions related to his wife’s employment and the quid-pro-quo condo situation may have crossed the line into criminal conduct punishable by fines or even by time in prison.”
That is a reference to several items mentioned in the letter as proof of Pruitt’s questionable actions.
Dear @POTUS: Pruitt has
1. Used his security detail to drive him to get Ritz-Carlton lotion
2. Used staff to find a used Trump hotel mattress
3. Used taxpayer funds for a $43k phone booth
If you don't want to fire him for being corrupt, how about firing him for being super weird? https://t.co/dPQ8zQS2ay
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) June 7, 2018
Those include making personal contact and using an EPA staffer to reach out to the Chick-fil-A company to give his wife a job or sell her a franchise, and his use of a Washington, D.C. condo when he first relocated from Oklahoma which belonged to a lobbyist at under market rates.
When asked about the Chick-fil-A request this week, Pruitt tried to make light of it.
I asked Scott Pruitt a quick question about the reports he tried to help his wife become a Chick-fil-A franchisee.
"With great change comes, I think, opposition…I love, she loves [Chick-fil-A]" pic.twitter.com/gND2tdMq1e
— Jessica Smith (@JessicaASmith8) June 6, 2018
However, it is anything but clear that Justice Department and FBI investigators will find it amusing since it seems like a blatant violation of the federal ethics laws.
The question is whether Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions will interfere for political reason to protect Pruitt, which considering their past record is a possibility.
If they do, expect Democrats to complain loudly and make Pruitt an issue in the upcoming midterm elections.
.@SenSherrodBrown says it's time for Pruitt to go. "He should have quit a long time ago. This is about the 18th scandal…If you take that oath of office, you don't do things like that. Period."
— Jessica Smith (@JessicaASmith8) June 7, 2018