Comically corrupt Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt may have the full support of President Donald Trump (for the time being at least), but his laundry list of reported ethics violations and generally shifty behavior has prompted the government’s top ethics official to step in and demand action.
In a sternly-worded letter sent from the Office of Government Ethics, acting director David Apol demanded that the EPA address Pruitt’s (allegedly) shameless grifting of the American people, which the OGE claimed “raise concerns about whether the administrator is using his public office for personal gain in violation of ethics rules.” (Spoiler: he totally is).
The letter, dated April 6 and first reported on Monday by the New York Times, marks an escalation (the Times called it an “unusual step”) in the ongoing scandal surrounding Pruitt and his tenure as head of the EPA.
From the letter:
The success of our government depends on maintaining the trust of the people we serve. The American public needs to have confidence that ethics violations, as well as the appearance of ethics violations, are investigated and appropriately addressed.
In his warning to the EPA, Apol zeroed in on Pruitt’s $50-a-night condo rental (conveniently paid to the wife of a major energy lobbyist), his lavish travel and security spending, and—most damningly—reports of retaliation against agency staffers who attempted to speak out against these alleged ethical breaches.
“If a violation is found, OGE also expects that appropriate action will be taken in response,” Apol wrote. He didn’t clarify what that “appropriate action” might be.
Whether Apol’s letter will have any tangible effect at the EPA remains to be seen. However, Pruitt’s alleged corruption has gotten so bad that even Republican vultures have begun circling overhead; on Sunday, conservative Louisiana Senator John Kennedy likened the EPA chief’s behavior to that of a “chucklehead,” and insisted that “doggone it, [Pruitt] represents the president of the United States and it is hurting his boss.”