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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 PruittOVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA eases permitting for modifications to polluting facilities | Rocky Mountain National Park closed due to expanding Colorado wildfire | Trump order strips workplace protections from civil servants EPA eases permitting for modifications to polluting facilities Overnight Energy: Barrett punts on climate, oil industry recusals | Ex-EPA official claims retaliation in lawsuit | Dems seek to uphold ruling ousting Pendley 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 BartonLobbying world Bottom line Ex-Tea Party lawmakers turn heads on K Street 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 ShimkusAsbestos ban stalls in Congress amid partisan fight Women rise on K Street — slowly Bottom line 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.