WASHINGTON – EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is refuting claims of ethical misconduct.
“A lie doesn’t become truth just because its appears on the front page of the newspaper,” Pruitt told a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee at a budget hearing on Thursday. “Much of what has been targeted toward me and my team has been half-truths or at best stories that have been so twisted they do not resemble reality.”
When asked by Ranking Member Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) about the authorization for a employee’s pay raise documented in an Inspector General’s report, Pruitt suggested a subordinate made the decision.
“Those [documents] were delegated to [EPA Chief of Staff] Mr. [Ryan] Jackson, and the inspector general did reference that in his management alert,” he said.
Pruitt has come under fire for having rented a condo from the wife of an energy lobbyist for $50 a night. He has said there was nothing improper the arrangement. Pruitt has been accused of using taxpayer money for personal travel, opulent office furnishings, and for expanding the size and scope of his security detail beyond that of his predecessors.
Pruitt has long been considered a foe of environmental activists. As Oklahoma attorney general he eliminated a unit within the AG’s office charged with prosecuting polluters. Pruitt sued the EPA more than a dozen times during the Obama administration.
Pruitt has expressed doubt as to whether human activity has exacerbated global warming and while attorney general he received substantial campaign contributions from the fossil-fuel industry.
Earlier this month 15 state attorneys general sued the EPA in a methane emissions control lawsuit related to the roll-back of Obama-era standards for cars and trucks.