With the news that the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt has been hiding a secret calendar that conceals his meetings with top officials of the industries that his agency is supposed to be regulating, it’s getting hard to count the number of scandals that Pruitt has engendered.
There were the ethics breaches around his renting a below-market-rate apartment from the wife of a lobbyist; the enormous expenses associated with his first-class travel and security details after he became frightened of public reaction to his demolishing of environmental regulations that he should be enforcing; the costly private phone booth for his office to avoid being overheard as he spoke to lobbyists and his corporate patrons; all of these and more all pointing to a level of corruption and malfeasance unprecedented in prior administrations.
Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA), upon hearing the latest accusations against Pruitt provided by an EPA whistleblower, took to Twitter to remind America that Pruitt could be guilty of more than just ethics violations. His latest purported actions fall squarely into the realm of a criminal offense.
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In addition to being a national embarrassment, Scott Pruitt likely committed one or more felonies. The Federal Records Act would almost certainly apply to the calendar of @EPAScottPruitt. Concealing or falsifying a federal record is a felony.
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) July 3, 2018
According to CNN, “EPA staffers met routinely in Pruitt’s office to ‘scrub,’ alter or remove from Pruitt’s official calendar numerous records because they might ‘look bad,’ according to Kevin Chmielewski, Pruitt’s former deputy chief of staff for operations, who attended the meetings.”
More from CNN:
“We would have meetings what we were going to take off on the official schedule. We had at one point three different schedules. One of them was one that no one else saw except three or four of us,” Chmielewski told CNN. “It was a secret … and they would decide what to nix from the public calendar.”
“If somebody changed, deleted, scrubbed a federal record with the intent of deceiving the public or intent of deceiving anybody, it could very well be a violation of federal law,” said Larry Noble, a former general counsel at the Federal Election Commission.
Let’s hope that the officials at the FBI and the Justice Department that Rep. Lieu copied on his tweet haven’t left town early for the Independence Day holiday. They’ve got some major investigating to start working on.
The environment will thank them.
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.