Tuesday, 21 August, 2018

GOP chairman sends staff to evaluation Pruitt journey knowledge at EPA

UNITED STATES- AUGUST 4 Sen. Mike Rounds R-S.D. Co Chairman of the Former Governors Caucus is interviewed by Roll Call in the Capitol Tom Williams CQ-Roll Call Group
Lori Graves | 12 April, 2018, 07:25

Mario Caraballo, a military veteran who served as deputy associate administrator at the EPA's Office of Homeland Security, was placed on leave.

"I am deeply troubled that members of the committee would publicly release law enforcement sensitive information regarding the safety and security of a cabinet member and his family", Barrasso said in a statement.

The scandal-scarred EPA czar has come under severe scrutiny since it was revealed that he has spent millions of taxpayer dollars on an around-the-clock security detail, rented an impossibly affordable Capitol Hill condo from an oil lobbyist and dished out taxpayer cash on first-class travel. Pruitt is scheduled to testify in front of part of the House Energy and Commerce Committee later this month.

The EPA is the leading public body for protecting and improving the environment in Ghana.

EPA's assistant inspector general for investigations, Patrick Sullivan, has told The Washington Post and other media that Pruitt has received a higher number of threats than his predecessors - some of them "very personal, ugly threats".

"It is also why this committee will not hold a hearing on this issue".

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., a member of the committee, accused Republicans of not conducting oversight, saying Tuesday there has been "no serious investigation of anything with respect to this administration on our committee at all".

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In November, BuzzFeed News investigative reporter Jason Leopold filed a public records request with EPA for copies of government records about death threats to Pruitt. Pruitt's staff cited death threats to rebut criticism of Pruitt flying in first-class airline seats and a full-time security detail of 20 armed officers.

The agency, which did not respond to a request for comment on the Democrats' letter, has justified the first-class travel and extra security as a precaution taken because of threats to Pruitt. "Scott Pruitt has lost all credibility and the confidence of the American people - it's time for him to go".

The embattled EPA chief wanted the agency's "challenge coin", a commemorative medal used as a sign of one's allegiance, to increase in size, bear his name in large letters around the rim and do away with the EPA logo featured on the current design, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

"Administrator Pruitt is focused on advancing President Trump's agenda of regulatory certainty and environmental stewardship", EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said Wednesday.

"It is hard to reconcile the public statements of the EPA, and the President, with these internal and external assessments", the letter said. They also acknowledged, though, that the materials might be incomplete.

In addition, Gowdy said in his letter Wednesday that he plans to examine Pruitt's unusual lease agreement for a condo on Capitol Hill previous year with Vicki Hart, a health-care lobbyist. The vote comes amid calls by Democrats and a few Republicans for President Donald Trump to replace EPA chief Scott Pruitt, whose tenure has been threatened by damaging ethics disclosures.

According to one internal agency memo, there have been at least 16 "threats" against Mr. Pruitt.

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