EPA watchdog to review former Pruitt aide's employment records

EPA watchdog to review former Pruitt aide's employment records
© Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) internal watchdog has agreed to review the time and attendance records of a former top aide to Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittEnvironmentalists renew bid to overturn EPA policy barring scientists from advisory panels Six states sue EPA over pesticide tied to brain damage Overnight Energy: Trump EPA looks to change air pollution permit process | GOP senators propose easing Obama water rule | Green group sues EPA over lead dust rules MORE.

The EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) said it will take up the review after Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperAmerica is in desperate need of infrastructure investment: Senate highway bill a step in the right direction FARA should apply to Confucius Institutes The 23 Republicans who opposed Trump-backed budget deal MORE (D-Del.) alleged that Samantha Dravis worked very little or not at all between November 2017 and January 2018 and was likely getting paid as a full-time employee during that time.

“We have determined that the issues raised in your letter are within the authority of the OIG to review and we will do so,” Inspector General Arthur Elkins told Carper, the top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee.


His letter was first reported by CBS News.

EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox denied the allegations against.

“Samantha Dravis has been a senior leader at the EPA and has performed her duties faithfully for her entire tenure,” he said. “It is completely baseless and absurd to assert that someone with her responsibilities and office would have been away from her duties and responsibilities for months at a time, as alleged.”

Wilcox declined to comment on the inspector general opening the investigation.

Before resigning, Dravis was the senior counsel and associate administrator in EPA's Office of Policy, and was described as a close ally to Pruitt. She previously worked as policy director of the Republican Attorneys General Association and as president of its affiliate, the Rule of Law Defense Fund, when Pruitt, then Oklahoma's attorney general, was chairman of the association.

Her resignation came amid a wave of scandals involving Pruitt, including reports that he rented a condo from an energy lobbyist and that EPA gave raises to two aides after the White House refused to allow it. But Dravis submitted her resignation before the recent spate of controversies arose.

Carper wrote to the OIG seeking an investigation on March 28, before Dravis announced her departure.

The senator cited, among other factors, the case of John Beale, an adviser at the EPA who in 2013 was revealed to have skipped work repeatedly and used taxpayer money for travel while falsely claiming to be a CIA agent.

Elkins made clear in his letter that he wants to ensure that the reforms EPA instituted after the Beale scandal were effective.