Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

Democrats want criminal investigation of EPA's Scott Pruitt

Democrats want criminal investigation of EPA's Scott Pruitt

"I mean, we're setting records", Trump told reporters before departing the White House for the G-7 summit in Quebec.

The letter cites reports that Pruitt attempted to secure a Chick-fil-A franchise for his wife, and paid $50 a night to rent a condo from the wife of a lobbyist who lobbied the EPA. "I'm not saying that he's blameless, but we'll see what happens".

Pruitt is now facing multiple inquiries from ethics watchdogs, federal auditors and congressional committees into his actions at the agency.

"Scott Pruitt can not shift the blame for his scandals to his aides or career EPA employees, said Democratic Representative Don Beyer, a member of the House Natural Resources Committee". Meanwhile, Pruitt is continuing to radically reshape the EPA.

The request for an investigation was made in a letter sent Friday to FBI Director Chris Wray and Justice's criminal division chief by six Democratic lawmakers with oversight of Pruitt's agency. Although the fund would be useful if he faced a criminal investigation, ethics experts see it as potentially another ethical minefield, because federal law says he can not accept donations from donors whose business interests involve the EPA.

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EPA travel vouchers also show Pruitt charged taxpayers last September for a $1,210 one-way flight and $669 in hotel costs to appear at a conference of a New York City-based nonprofit, Concordia.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the administrator had his scheduler email the company's chief executive in May 2017 to request a meeting with Pruitt on "a potential business opportunity".

Asked about the report, Pruitt did not directly comment on whether he sought a franchise for his wife, according to an excerpt of an interview with Nexstar Media Group posted on Twitter on Wednesday.

You can hear Pruitt in the video (via NBC) commenting on how "here we are talking about free speech, religious liberty, and folks won't let you engage in it at times" as the protester is escorted out. "Further, his actions related to his wife's employment and the quid-pro-quo condo situation with industry lobbyists may have crossed a line into criminal conduct punishable by fines or even time in prison", they wrote.

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