Breaking: FINALLY, EPA Scott Pruitt Is Out

Ken AshfordBreaking News, Election 2020, Environment & Global Warming & Energy, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

NY Times:

WASHINGTON — President Trump accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, he said in a tweet on Thursday.

Mr. Pruitt had been hailed as a hero among conservatives for his zealous deregulation, but he could not overcome the stain of numerous ethics questions about his alleged spending abusesfirst-class travel and cozy relationships with lobbyists.

Mr. Pruitt also came under fire for enlisting aides to obtain special favors for him and his family, such as reaching out to the chief executive of Chick-fil-A, Dan T. Cathy, with the intent of helping Mr. Pruitt’s wife, Marlyn, open franchise of the restaurant.


Mr. Pruitt is the subject of at least 13 federal investigations, and a government watchdog agency concluded that he had broken the law with his purchase of a $43,000 secure telephone booth. He was also under investigation for his 2017 lease of a bedroom in a condominium linked to a Canadian energy company’s powerful Washington lobbying firm, and for accusations that he demoted or sidelined E.P.A. employees who questioned his actions.

The former E.P.A. administrator had come under criticism for lavish expenditures on foreign travel, including a trip arranged for him by a lobbyist to Morocco, a country where the E.P.A. has no policy agenda. His domestic travel also came under fire after a former staff member told congressional investigators that his boss often sought to travel to Oklahoma, where Mr. Pruitt owns a home, directing his employees to “find me something to do” there so he could justify charging taxpayers for the expense.

New York Times report detailed Mr. Pruitt’s lavish spending and questionable practices in his home state.

While Democrats have criticized Mr. Pruitt since his nomination, in recent months even conservative Republicans had taken the unusual step of criticizing and questioning his ethics. Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina and the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has started an investigation into Mr. Pruitt’s actions at the E.P.A., the first such Republican-led inquiry into a Trump administration cabinet member.

On May 2, Mr. Gowdy’s staff began conducting transcribed, behind-closed-doors interviews with Mr. Pruitt’s closest aides. Partial transcripts from one of those interviews revealed that Mr. Pruitt used one of his top aides last year essentially as a personal assistant, having her help him search for an apartment as well as try to procure a used mattress from the Trump International Hotel.

In addition, Mr. Pruitt faced irritation from the White House after The Atlantic magazine reported that Mr. Pruitt’s office gave raises to two aides, even though the White House had declined to approve the raises.

The E.P.A. has denied any wrongdoing on Mr. Pruitt’s behalf. But in May, several members of his senior staff resigned, and many more top employees are said to be considering leaving.

Pruitt and his wife were one of the 800 people on the White House lawn yesterday enjoying a Fourth of July picnic celebration.  What a difference a day makes.

I doubt that EPA policy (or lack thereof) will change with Pruitt’s replacement, but consensus — even on the right — was that Pruitt was the swampiest of the swamp.  So bad, in fact, that it would hurt in the upcoming midterms.

“Outstanding job”?

And in related news, Trump hires other swampy people.

After more than a week of rumors, the White House has made it official: Former Fox News co-president Bill Shine will become “Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications.” The White House version of Shine’s qualifications is that “He brings over two decades of television programming, communications, and management experience to the role.”

But it might be more accurate to say that he has years of experience covering up sexual harassment for Roger Ailes and the rest of the sleazebags at Fox:

Shine resigned from Fox News in May 2017 after he was accused in several lawsuits of covering up or downplaying allegations of workplace sexual harassment and racial discrimination. His resignation came two weeks after the network’s top-rated host Bill O’Reilly was ousted from Fox News following revelations that he and the network had paid out $13 million to settle complaints against him from five female co-workers.

Relevant skills for the Trump White House, no doubt!

And Fox News’s status as official state media becomes even a little clearer.