Ethics investigations of EPA leader broaden

Ethics investigations of EPA leader broaden”

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David Apol, the acting director of the OGE, sent the letter dated April 6 to Kevin Minoli, the EPA's designated ethics official. The Associated Press reported Friday that the 20-member team tasked with providing day-and-night protection for Pruitt had racked up salary, overtime and travel expenses approaching $3-million.

Sixty-four House Democrats and two Florida Republicans have called for Pruitt's ouster so far. Apol said the EPA needed to "take action to appropriately address any violations". The Office of Government Ethics "expects that the EPA will review and analyze the alleged conduct".

As a tornado of ethics scandals swirled around Scott Pruitt heading into the weekend, the EPA administrator and avowed foe of breathable air managed to emerge on the other side with his job intact, and even a presidential endorsement to show for his troubles.

Barrasso acknowledged that "certain questions have been raised about internal operations" at EPA and Pruitt's actions, but said he will wait for a White House review before reaching judgment.

Pruitt has cited the statements from EPA ethics officers in response to questions in regards to the association.

Most recently, it was revealed that he rented a room in a condo owned by the wife of a prominent energy lobbyist during his first several months in D.C. The unit cost him $50 a day, he only paid for nights that he slept there and his daughter occasionally stayed in the condo as well.

In his letter, Apol called the reports of reassignments and demotions "extremely" concerning. Apol calls the report "extraordinarily regarding".

"If true, it is hard to imagine any action that could more effectively undermine an agency's integrity than punishing or marginalizing employees who strive to ensure compliance with the laws and regulations that safeguard that integrity", Apol wrote in his letter to the EPA.

The Office of Government Ethics does not have the authority to discipline Pruitt, the Times noted, though the agency can request that President Donald Trump punish a federal official found to be in violation of ethics rules.

The changes in salary have now been reversed, pursuant to an instruction from Pruitt, Jackson said.

Apol additionally mentions a New York Occasions story that mentioned that Pruitt reassigned workers that raised considerations about his decisionmaking and spending, together with the previous head of his safety element who reportedly wouldn't use the automobiles' lights and sirens to keep away from DC visitors. The Times reports that an EPA spokeswoman said all the trips were related to agency business. And other Williams & Jensen employees have disclosed lobbying the EPA since Pruitt took over the agency a year ago. That evaluate has since expanded to take a look at the price of all his journey in 2017 when he incessantly traveled firstclass on home and worldwide journeys.

The EPA's ethics office falls under the Office of General Counsel, which reports to the administrator's office.

The EPA should also investigate whether employees were "reassigned or demoted" for challenging Pruitt's potentially unethical behavior, Apol wrote. Instead, Pruitt used an obscure provision of the Safe Drinking Water Act to increase the employees' pay.

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