Press: Drain the swamp – of Scott Pruitt

Press: Drain the swamp – of Scott Pruitt
© Greg Nash

OK, this is getting ridiculous. How many more examples of Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Court orders EPA to enforce chemical safety rule | Dem says Zinke would 'sell' his grandkids for the oil industry | EPA reportedly poised to unveil climate rule replacement Court throws out EPA delay of Obama chemical plant safety rule The Hill's Morning Report: Dems have a majority in the Senate (this week) MORE’s unethical behavior do we need before he’s shoved out the door? Every day there’s another report of Pruitt’s attempts to live high on the hog at taxpayer expense.

We’re all familiar with the litany of Pruitt’s misdeeds. But it’s worth cataloguing them in one place, thanks to Axios — just to remind ourselves what a money-grubbing flimflam artist this guy really is. It started with his hemorrhaging money on official perks.

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He insisted on flying first class or leasing a private jet, citing “threats to his safety.” He spent $43,000 on construction of a soundproof telephone booth in his private office. He had biometric locks installed on his office doors at a cost of $5,700. He spent over $3 million on a 24/7, presidential-level security detail, more than three times more than any of his predecessors. Christine Todd Whitman, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator under former President George W. Bush, walked to work. Pruitt is also known to insist that his drivers use flashing lights and sirens when driving him around Washington: a standard practice for the president and vice president, but no other Cabinet member.

When they’re not following his orders to wreck the environment, Pruitt’s also used EPA staff to treat him like royalty. He dispatched his scheduling secretary to buy him a used mattress from the Trump International Hotel. He sent out his security detail to pick up his laundry and search for his favorite body lotion at the Ritz-Carlton. Staffers report they’re routinely asked to procure his favorite snacks. In return, he gave two top aides big raises, even though the White House rejected his request.

Meanwhile, Pruitt uses agency contacts to snag all the benefits he can. He asked a former Virginia politician to get his daughter into the University of Virginia. He tapped a public relations executive to get him two tickets to a sold-out Rose Bowl game. A billionaire coal executive comped him seats for him and his son for a University of Kentucky basketball game. He leaned on a former Comcast lobbyist to set up a trip to Morocco. He famously rented a bedroom on Capitol Hill from the wife of an energy lobbyist for $50 a night. Last week, he was admonished to stop freeloading at the White House mess.

Pruitt has also used taxpayer dollars to benefit his family. He directed EPA staffers to help get his daughter a White House internship. He asked one top staffer to help get his wife a Chick-fil-A franchise, which failed, while another staffer was successful in landing her a job with the Judicial Crisis Network.

Living the life of Reilly at taxpayer expense. Does Pruitt have no shame? In a word, no. Former EPA staffers report that Pruitt told them he (making only $180,000 a year, poor baby) was just, in effect, trying to “keep up with the Joneses” — the wealthiest president and Cabinet in history, including the Trumps (estimated net worth $2.8 billion); the McMahons ($1.6 billion); the DeVoses ($1.5 billion); and the Mnuchins ($400 million).

But Pruitt does have a point. In exploiting his position for personal gain, he’s not alone. He joins current and former Cabinet members Tom PriceThomas (Tom) Edmunds PricePelosi seizes on anti-corruption message against GOP White House staff offered discounts at Trump's NJ golf club: report GOP lawmaker calls for ethics rules changes after Collins charged with insider trading MORE, David ShulkinDavid Jonathon ShulkinVeterans group sues to block advisers known as ‘Mar-a-Lago Crowd’ from influencing VA Mar-a-Lago insiders provided input on VA policy, personnel decisions: report Ahead of speech, Kansas City newspaper urges Trump to listen to veterans MORE, Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeSanders tests his brand in Florida Overnight Energy: Court orders EPA to enforce chemical safety rule | Dem says Zinke would 'sell' his grandkids for the oil industry | EPA reportedly poised to unveil climate rule replacement Washington governor says Zinke would 'sell his grandchildren for the oil industry' MORE and Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonThe queen, Aretha Franklin, is dead Ben Carson makes the right move rolling back Obama-era housing policy NYT columnist: A tape of Trump saying N-word could make his supporters like him more MORE, all of whom were caught on the take. Plus Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpJustice Dept sues Ivanka’s former business partner in fraud case Steve Schmidt: Trump revoking Brennan's clearance shows his 'autocratic fetish' Trump, Obamas and Clintons among leaders mourning Aretha Franklin MORE and Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerAxios: Trump said one-state solution would mean future Israeli PM would be named Mohammed Sentencing reform deal heats up, pitting Trump against reliable allies Justice Dept sues Ivanka’s former business partner in fraud case MORE, who raked in over $80 million in outside income in 2017. President TrumpDonald John TrumpArizona GOP Senate candidate defends bus tour with far-right activist Alyssa Milano protests Kavanaugh in 'Handmaid's Tale' costume Bomb in deadly Yemen school bus attack was manufactured by US firm: report MORE didn’t drain the swamp. He filled it with swamp-like creatures — of whom Scott Pruitt is the swampiest.

 


Press is host of “The Bill Press Show” on Free Speech TV and author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.”