June 07, 2018

Republicans Own EPA Corruption

Scott Pruitt is looting the EPA and House Republicans refuse to stop him

by Chris Thomas

[Image by Lorie Shaull via Wikimedia Commons](https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stop_Pruitt,_Rally_To_Oppose_EPA_Nominee_Scott_Pruitt_(32119365773) .jpg)

House Republicans voted this week to block Mark Pocan’s (D WI-02) amendment to the [FY 2019 Appropriations Bill](http://FY 2019 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill) which would have fully funded the EPA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG). House Republicans had previously cut the EPA OIG budget despite the mounting scandals associated with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, and the mounting costs associated with investigating those legal and ethical lapses, thereby forcing the OIG to forgo investigation of many serious abuses.

For those of you keeping track, Mr Pruitt’s laundry list of scandals, abuses, and indiscretions now includes the following (hat-tip: Axios):

He reportedly ordered raises for two aides, despite the White House rejecting his request. He later said he was unaware of the raises.
He spent $3 million of taxpayer funds on an extensive security detail, which was three times bigger than his predecessor’s.
Biometric locks were installed on his office doors for $5,700, Politico reports.
He came under fire for renting a bedroom near Capitol Hill from a lobbyist for $50 a night. He told the Washington Examiner: “I’m dumbfounded that that’s controversial.”
The agency installed a $43,000 private phone booth in his office.
He has spent over $105,000 on first-class flights, per Politico, citing “threats to his safety.”
He had a tendency to want to use flashing lights and sirens on his motorcade to cut through D.C. traffic — including at least one trip to a popular French restaurant, Le Diplomate.
A former Comcast lobbyist helped the agency set up a trip to Morocco in December, which cost $100,000, despite original claims that it would cost $40,000.
Pruitt accepted seats at a University of Kentucky basketball game for him and his son from a billionaire coal executive.
His staff spent over $1,500 on fountain pens, CNN reported, and more than $1,600 on journals.
His director of scheduling and advance says Pruitt asked her to perform personal tasks, which included a request for a Trump hotel mattress.

What does this mean?

It’s no secret that the semi-official position of the Republican Party is that the EPA shouldn’t exist.

Pruitt’s behavior and the House GOP’s unwillingness to hold him to account suggests that this is not “ethical tone deafness” but a deliberate attempt to undermine the EPA. Rather than eliminating the agency outright, which would involve a protracted fight in Congress, Mr Trump chose to appoint a caricature of corruption and graft and House Republicans have acted to undermine even the anemic checks that remain to safeguard the agency. The distinction between apathy and complicity is one that, at some point, stops mattering.

Tell Congress What You Think

If Congress lacks the spine to hold Scott Pruitt to account the least it can do is fund the EPA’s inspector general so that someone does so. If you think that Pruitt’s abuse of the EPA deserves investigation you can write your Representatives and Senators by texting RESIST to 50409. If SMS isn’t your style, you can contact your government by talking to Resistbot on Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or Twitter.

Who should I write?

You should write your Representatives and Senators as they’re the folks who are supposed to be safeguarding your interests. If your Representative happens to be on the House Appropriations Committee, however, your voice is especially important here. Appropriations voted down Pohan’s amendment on straight party lines with Republicans opposing funding for the EPA OIG.

House Appropriations Members

Majority (Republicans)

Rodney Frelinghuysen, New Jersey, Chairman
Hal Rogers, Kentucky
Robert Aderholt, Alabama
Kay Granger, Texas
Mike Simpson, Idaho
John Culberson, Texas
John Carter, Texas
Ken Calvert, California
Tom Cole, Oklahoma
Mario Diaz-Balart, Florida
Charlie Dent, Pennsylvania
Tom Graves, Georgia
Kevin Yoder, Kansas
Steve Womack, Arkansas
Jeff Fortenberry, Nebraska
Tom Rooney, Florida
Chuck Fleischmann, Tennessee
Jaime Herrera Beutler, Washington
David Joyce, Ohio
David Valadao, California
Andy Harris, Maryland
Martha Roby, Alabama
Mark Amodei, Nevada
Chris Stewart, Utah
David Young, Iowa
Evan Jenkins, West Virginia
Steven Palazzo, Mississippi
Dan Newhouse, Washington
John Moolenaar, Michigan
Scott Taylor, Virginia

Minority (Democrats)

Nita Lowey, New York, Ranking Member
Marcy Kaptur, Ohio
Pete Visclosky, Indiana
José Serrano, New York
Rosa DeLauro, Connecticut
David Price, North Carolina
Lucille Roybal-Allard, California
Sanford Bishop, Georgia
Barbara Lee, California
Betty McCollum, Minnesota
Tim Ryan, Ohio
Dutch Ruppersberger, Maryland
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Florida
Henry Cuellar, Texas
Chellie Pingree, Maine
Mike Quigley, Illinois
Derek Kilmer, Washington, Vice Ranking Member
Matt Cartwright, Pennsylvania
Grace Meng, New York
Mark Pocan, Wisconsin
Katherine Clark, Massachusetts
Pete Aguilar, California

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