Protesters at hearing hoist ‘Mr. Corruption’ signs behind Pruitt

Protesters at hearing hoist ‘Mr. Corruption’ signs behind Pruitt
© Greg Nash

A handful of protesters at a congressional hearing with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittUndoing the damage Pruitt and Zinke did to our environment Judges skeptical of case against Obama smog rule Interior chief Zinke to leave administration MORE hoisted small signs labeling him “Mr. Corruption,” with Pruitt’s portrait, behind him.

The signs, held up when Pruitt was answering a question by Rep. Joe BartonJoe Linus BartonPrivacy legislation could provide common ground for the newly divided Congress Texas New Members 2019 Dem wins leave behind a more conservative GOP conference MORE (R-Texas), were the first instance of protest within the hearing room at the blockbuster event, a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Environment Subcommittee.

Rep. John ShimkusJohn Mondy ShimkusHow the Trump tax law passed: The final stretch Republicans mull new punishments for dissident lawmakers New EPA chief draws sharp contrast to Pruitt MORE (R-Ill.), chairing the hearing, threatened to have the protesters removed, but they were allowed to stay.

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“I have some magic words that will then cause you to have to leave. I do not want to say that,” he said.

“We asked for decorum, that is not being ... decorus, whatever the word is,” Shimkus laughed.

Capitol Police officers told the protesters to take the signs down and warned them that if they came up again, the protesters would be removed. The protesters complied.

Representatives from Moms Clean Air Force and Friends of the Earth are attending the Thursday hearing with each group wearing matching shirts. They both have been outspoken opponents of Pruitt’s policies and management of the agency.

Pruitt is at the center of numerous ethical and spending controversies, including renting a condo for just $50 for each night he stayed there from an energy lobbyist’s wife.