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EPA Admin Scott Pruitt Resigns Amid Scandals – Andrew Wheeler To Become Acting Admin

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Published on: July 5, 2018

In less than a week after a Communist loving woman, who is a public school indoctrinator and believes in the climate change hoax, toted her 2-year-old over to former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt and demanded he resign before his scandals push him out of office, Pruitt has tendered his resignation to President Donald Trump, and Trump has accepted it, informing the public of a new acting administrator for the EPA, Andrew Wheeler.

“I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this. The Senate confirmed Deputy at EPA, Andrew Wheeler, will on Monday assume duties as the acting Administrator of the EPA. I have no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda. We have made tremendous progress and the future of the EPA is very bright!” Trump tweeted on Thursday.

In his resignation letter, Pruitt wrote, “It is extremely difficult for me to cease serving you in this role.  However, the unrelenting attacks on me personally, my family, are unprecedented and have taken a sizable toll on all of us.”

“I believe you are serving as president today because of God’s providence,” he added. “I believe that same providence brought me into your service.”

While Pruitt was engaged in a lot of deregulation, something that President Trump advanced in an Executive Order in 2017, he has also been under the microscope, and that has apparently, led to his resignation.

The Government Accountability Office completed an investigation in April 2018.  They determined that the EPA had violated at least two laws when the agency purchased a $43,000 phone booth (do these people not have cell phones?) and failed to notify Congress, which they were to do before spending more than $5,000 on office equipment. The purchase also broke the Anti Deficiency Act.

According to Medium.com, there are still eighteen outstanding investigations of Pruitt.

Open Investigations*

EPA Inspector General Investigations:

1. Inspector General (IG) investigation to explore the frequency, cost, and extent of Pruitt’s travel: On August 28, 2017, the EPA IG’s Office announced that it would be opening an investigation into the frequency of Pruitt’s travels to Oklahoma. The investigation was also intended to determine “whether EPA policies and procedures are sufficiently designed to prevent fraud, waste and abuse with the Administrator’s travel that included trips to Oklahoma.” The probe was expanded in January 2018 to include Pruitt’s travels through the end of 2017, including to Morocco, a trip which cost $100,000.

2. IG investigation into Pruitt’s meeting with an industry group: EPA IG opened an investigation in December 2017 to analyze Pruitt’s April 2017 meeting with a coal mining industry group, the National Mining Association. Reportedly, Pruitt urged association members in the meeting to request that President Trump pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate deal. Democrats from the House Energy and Commerce Committee released a letter from EPA IG Arthur Elkins Jr. confirming the review of the meeting.

3. IG investigation into Pruitt’s spending on a secure phone boothIn response to a request from House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, the EPA IG in December 2017 opened an investigation into how the agency decided to spend “more than $25,000 installing a secure, soundproof communications booth” for Pruitt’s office. Since the start of the investigation, new spending details have been released indicating that the booth actually cost closer to $43,000. In a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Pruitt claimed that he had no knowledge of the booth’s cost during its construction process, but rather that his staff had signed off on it.

4. IG investigation into Pruitt’s use of Safe Drinking Water Act hiring authorityIn January 2018, the EPA IG’s Office began an investigation into “the Office of the Administrator’s use of its authority to fill administratively determined positions created pursuant to the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendment of 1978.” Pruitt or his staff had used this specialized authority, intended for hiring experts quickly, to hire a number of political staff for his personal office.

5. IG investigation over questionable spending on Pruitt’s security detailIn April 2018, it was reported that the EPA IG was conducting a previously undisclosed probe into “questionable spending by [Pruitt’s] swollen security detail.” The team tasked with protecting Pruitt had been accruing expenses upward of $3 million from salary, overtime, and travel expenses, far more than Pruitt’s predecessors.

6. IG investigation to audit compliance with Trump’s 2-For-1 order:In April 2018, the EPA IG’s office opened an investigation into the agency’s compliance with Trump’s executive order that directed agencies to retire two regulations for an new regulation issued.

7. IG investigation into Pruitt’s conduct in office:In April 2018, Congressman Ted Lieu and Don Beyer released an EPA IG letter to the public that confirmed his office was reviewing Pruitt’s conduct while in office. This includes a look into Pruitt’s $50-a-night condo rental from a lobbyist, and the agency’s ex post facto ethics approval of the arrangement.

8. IG investigation into Pruitt’s use of security detail on personal trips to Disneyland and the Rose BowlAfter a request from Senator Whitehouse, the EPA IG office confirmed in April of 2018 that they were looking into Pruitt’s use of a taxpayer-funded security detail on vacation to Disneyland, the Rose Bowl, and on other personal trips.

9. IG investigation into Pruitt’s condo rentalSeparate from #7, the EPA IG’s office confirmed in April 2018 that they were reviewing Pruitt’s $50-a-night condo rental and lease. This was after Democrats from both the House and Senate called on the IG to review the arrangement, which was between Pruitt and the wife of a lobbyist with energy clients who had business before the EPA at the time Pruitt lived in the condo.

10. IG investigation into Pruitt’s use of multiple email accounts: EPA’s IG Arthur Elkins released a letter on May 15 saying his office would investigate whether Pruitt complied with EPA policy and federal law when using multiple email accounts, in response to a request from Democratic Senators Tom Carper (DE) and Jeff Merkley (OR). The investigation will also explore whether all of Pruitt’s accounts were searched in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

EPA Inspector General Reviews:

11. IG review of EPA political appointee Samantha Dravis’ employment recordsAfter it was brought to light that EPA political appointee Samantha Dravis may have been absent from the agency for a number of months between November and February of 2017–2018, the EPA IG confirmed that he would open a review into whether she had reported for work or not while still receiving compensation.

U.S. House Investigations:

12. House Oversight Committee investigation into Pruitt’s first class flights and spendingHouse Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy began investigating Pruitt in February of 2018 for his many taxpayer-funded first class flights. In April, the committee expanded its review to cover ethical questions around Pruitt’s $50-a-night condo rental on Capitol Hill.

Executive Office of the President Investigations:

13. White House internal investigation of Pruitt’s behavior:In April 2018, the White House began a review of Pruitt’s actions generally, after reports surfaced about his below-market-rate condo rental from the wife of an energy lobbyist.

14. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) investigation into Pruitt’s soundproof phone boothThe White House’s OMB opened an investigation into Pruitt and his agency’s spending of more than $43,000 on a secure, private phone booth in Pruitt’s office. OMB Chief Mick Mulvaney announced this investigation after a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that Pruitt had violated the Anti-Deficiency Act with the phone booth spending.

Government Accountability Office (GAO) Investigations:

15. GAO investigation into Pruitt’s involvement in a video with an outside stakeholder groupIn November of 2017, the GAO began examining whether Pruitt violated legal provisions that prohibit lobbying and propaganda that uses agency resources when he appeared in a video produced by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. The video requested that the Association’s members submit comments to EPA on its Waters of the United States rule revision.

16. GAO investigation into Pruitt’s role in choosing members of Science Advisory BoardsAfter Pruitt essentially dissolved EPA’s Science Advisory Board and appointed a number of industry scientists instead, Senate Democrats requested that GAO open an investigation to examine Pruitt’s actions regarding the board more closely. The GAO accepted this request.

17. GAO investigation into EPA Tweet on Andrew Wheeler’s Confirmation:When Pruitt appeared in front of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and the Environment on May 16, 2018, Senator Udall asked GAO to review an April 13th tweet from the official EPA twitter account that included the phrase, “The Democrats couldn’t block the confirmation of environmental policy expert and former EPA staffer.” GAO has agreed to review the tweet given its partisan nature, to see if it violated laws against the use of government appropriations for publicity or propaganda.

U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) Investigations:

18. OSC investigation into Pruitt’s potential retaliation against staff:The U.S. OSC, an independent investigative agency, is looking into whether Pruitt may have retaliated against EPA staffers questioning his excessive spending, and other decisions. As many as six EPA staffershave claimed that Pruitt has sidelined them after they questioned a spending or travel decision, either through demotions, reassignments or even firing.

The Daily Caller also reported on a recent development in questioning Pruitt.

Two Democratic congressmen are seeking an investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) into Scott Pruitt’s “secret” calendars, where he allegedly hid and altered records.

House Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA) and Ted Lieu (D-CA) wrote a letter to the EPA’s Inspector General on Thursday calling for the investigation into whether the actions of Pruitt’s office were in violation of the Federal Records Act.

Pruitt and his aides maintained the “secret” calendars and schedules in an effort to prevent controversial calls and meetings with industry representatives from becoming public, according to a report by CNN.

The report says that aides routinely met in Pruitt’s office to either remove or alter records that might “look bad,” according to Pruitt’s former deputy chief of staff for operations, Kevin Chmielewski, who attended those meetings. Chmielewski says he was forced to leave the EPA in February after raising questions about Pruitt’s ethics, spending, and management, according to CNN.

“Willful concealment or destruction of such records is a federal crime carrying penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment,” they wrote to EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins, asking him to “protect public trust, and establish whether Administrator Scott Pruitt violated the Federal Records Act, and if so, determine what he concealed and why.”

EPA spokesperson Jahan Wilcox said that Pruitt does not have a “secret” calendar. “Despite continued false accusations there are no secret calendars or schedules,” he said in a statement to The Hill. “EPA has released the meetings and events Administrator Pruitt has attended — which the media has already reported as meetings with industry — and to report anything else would be categorically false.”

Where he violated the law, he should be held accountable.  However, I also find it ironic that he was turning back a lot of Obama-era regulations that were costing America billions.  For that work, he should be commended.

Now that Andrew Wheeler is in charge, let’s see what will come up next.

In my personal opinion, I think we should eliminate the EPA in the same manner we should eliminate other unconstitutional agencies.

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