Nearly half of Trump EPA political appointees have industry ties: AP

Nearly half of Trump EPA political appointees have industry ties: AP
© Greg Nash

Nearly half of President TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out 'subversion' at VA MORE’s appointees to the Environmental Protection Agency have strong industry ties, according to new Associated Press analysis.

About one-third of the 59 appointees the AP tracked in 2017 previously worked as lobbyists or lawyers for companies in industries regulated by the EPA, like chemicals or fossil fuels.

While the majority of those appointees have agreed to recuse themselves from issues involving their former clients, at least three have received official waivers that allow them to work on issues that could affect their previous employers.

For example, Erik Baptist, a top EPA lawyer who formerly worked as a lobbyist and lawyer for the American Petroleum Institute, is now permitted to advise EPA chief Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Dems ask Pruitt to justify first-class travel | Obama EPA chief says reg rollback won't stand | Ex-adviser expects Trump to eventually rejoin Paris accord Overnight Regulation: Trump to take steps to ban bump stocks | Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare | FCC to officially rescind net neutrality Thursday | Obama EPA chief: Reg rollback won't stand Overnight Defense: First Gitmo transfer under Trump could happen 'soon' | White House says Trump has confidence in VA chief | Russia concedes 'dozens' of civilians injured in Syria clash MORE on a renewable fuels policy that he once worked to repeal at his previous job.

The two others granted ethics exemptions worked as lobbyists for a major pesticide maker and a Native American tribe, respectively.

White House counsel Don McGahn has issued at least 24 ethics waivers to officials across the administration, despite the president signing an executive order to block former lobbyists from working on issues related to former clients, according to the analysis.

Trump, who promised during his campaign to "drain the swamp," has been criticized for appointing officials whose previous work could give create conflicts of interest in their new government jobs.

This report comes just days after it was revealed that an EPA political staffer was cleared by the EPA’s ethics office to have a side job as a media consultant.

Liberal watchdog group Public Citizen found in a report earlier this month that 76 administration lawyers — more than half of the senior attorneys in the executive branch — had ties to the industries they oversee in the administration.