Pruitt's chief of staff takes responsibility for controversial raises

Pruitt's chief of staff takes responsibility for controversial raises
© Greg Nash

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Court rejects new effort to stop kids' climate lawsuit | Baltimore is latest city to sue over climate change | EPA staffers worried about toxic chemical in Pruitt's desk Pruitt staffers worried about toxic chemical in his desk Andrew Wheeler must reverse damage to American heartland MORE’s chief of staff said on Tuesday that he is responsible for giving two top aides significant raises after the White House rejected the request.

Ryan Jackson said the move to use a special authority was all his and that Pruitt had nothing to do with it.

“Administrator Pruitt had zero knowledge of the amount of the raises, nor the process by which they transpired. These kind of personnel actions are handled by EPA's HR officials, [Presidential Personnel Office] and me,” Jackson said in a statement.

ADVERTISEMENT

Jackson said he gave the raises to Sarah Greenwalt and Millan Hupp because they were being paid less than their peers with similar responsibilities.

Jackson’s statement, first reported by The Atlantic, came in response to a Monday report in the magazine that an internal EPA email from Greenwalt stated that Pruitt personally approved of her raise.

As The Atlantic previously reported, Pruitt asked the White House last month to approve raises for Greenwalt and Hupp, since they are political appointees, and the White House refused. So the EPA used a special authority under the Safe Drinking Water Act to give the raises.

Pruitt told Fox News last week that he was not involved in the process and he’d just found out about it when The Atlantic reported about the raises. He also said he reversed them.

“My staff did and I found out about that yesterday, and I changed it,” he said. “The officials that were involved in that process should not have done what they did.”

Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthLawmakers press Trump admin for list of migrant kids separated from families The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — Protests and anger: Washington in turmoil as elections near Ocasio-Cortez responds to Dem senator who said policies 'too far to the left' don't win in Midwest MORE (D-Ill.) alleged Monday that if Pruitt truly didn’t know about the raises, the EPA broke the law.

Duckworth in a letter to the Government Accountability Office seeking an investigation into the raises said that under spending legislation, the EPA administrator must approve all hiring and raises under the relevant Safe Drinking Water Act provision.