Poor Scott Pruitt just can’t catch a break from media outlets noticing all the stupid shit he’s done and continues to do as head of the Environmental Protection Agency. The New York Times has a new story out today about Pruitt’s ever-expanding list of shady activities, with a truly breathtaking latest addition: Pruitt bought an actual house with a lobbyist, and from a lobbyist, 15 years back when he was a state senator in Oklahoma.
That’s years before he decided that renting a room from yet another lobbyist for $50 a night like some kind of Airbnb corruption special was a good idea. This man has more years of experience in weird property dealings with lobbyists than the number of years Friends was on the air. The Times reported the house’s purchase last month, including the “steep discount” he received from the lobbyist he purchased it from, and that Pruitt did not disclose his financial relationship with these lobbyists as a lawmaker. Pruitt also reportedly bought the property through a shell company and later sold it for a nearly $100,000 profit.
All the while, Pruitt “championed” policies that his lobbyist real estate partner pushed for, according to the paper, specifically a bill to make it harder for injured workers to get compensation. At the time, the Democratic president pro tempore of the Oklahoma Senate, Cal Hobson, referenced a “campaign waged by some of the biggest, most profitable companies” to get the bill passed, and said he “couldn’t find one thing in this legislation that really helps workers.” Pruitt pursued this pet issue again as attorney general of the state.
Just as a reminder, here are some of Pruitt’s other greatest hits of being all snuggly with lobbyists:
- Rented a condo from a lobbyist’s wife, and also met that lobbyist while he was registered to lobby the EPA on environmental issues related to hog farming. The lobbyist also “sought EPA committee posts for a lobbying client.”
- Took a trip to Morocco planned by a lobbyist.
- Almost took a trip to Australia planned by a lobbyist (sadly canceled because of Hurricane Harvey).
- Announced the Smart Sectors program, to “allow regulated industries to have a greater say in how they are regulated.”
- “Regularly” met with corporate executives “shortly before making decisions favorable to those interest groups,” according to the Washington Post.
- Handed a policy victory—declaring that tree burning is carbon neutral—to his friends/former coworkers, who also happen to be lobbyists. Their firm was “paid $100,000 over the past year by an alliance of forestry companies—including giants Weyerhaeuser and Sierra Pacific—that have been seeking federal recognition of biomass as renewable energy on par with solar or wind.”
- As Oklahoma’s attorney general, he “closely coordinated with major oil and gas producers, electric utilities and political groups with ties to the libertarian billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch to roll back environmental regulations.”
And still, this guy has an apparently very safe job with the Trump administration.