Energy & Environment

Pruitt had aide look into Chick-fil-A franchise opportunity for his wife: report


An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) aide was enlisted by Administrator Scott Pruitt to set up a call with the president of the fast-food company Chick-fil-A to inquire about a business opportunity for Pruitt’s wife, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

The call was first set up by Sydney Hupp, Pruitt’s executive scheduler, in an email to Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-A chairman and president, asking if he would meet with Pruitt to discuss “a potential business opportunity,” according to an internal agency email released by the Sierra Club in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. The Post first reported on the email.

According to the Post, Pruitt himself later spoke on the phone with someone from the company’s legal department — just months after he took the helm of the EPA — to ask about the possibility of his wife, Marlyn Pruitt, becoming a Chick-fil-A franchisee.

“The subject of that phone call was an expression of interest in his wife becoming a Chick-fil-A franchisee,” Carrie Kurlander, a company representative, told the Post.


She added that Pruitt’s wife never completed the franchise application.

Pruitt was reportedly eager to find a job for his wife due to his frustrations with D.C.’s high cost of living, two sources told the Post.

Internal emails show Pruitt’s search to get Marlyn Pruitt a job opportunity didn’t stop at the fast-food provider. He also reached out to the chief executive of Concordia, a New York-based nonprofit.

Matthew Swift, an executive of the company, told the Post he ultimately paid Pruitt’s wife $2,000 plus travel expenses to organize the company’s annual conference last fall.

The Hill has reached out to EPA for comment.

Pruitt has been under fire for a long string of ethically questionable decisions ranging from his use of a 24-hour security team that has so far cost taxpayers more than $3.5 million, and his rental of a condo from the wife of a prominent energy lobbyist for $50 a night.

More recently, Pruitt has come under fire attending a University of Kentucky basketball game with his son in seats owned by coal executive Joseph Craft III. An EPA spokesperson said Pruitt paid Craft back in cash at market rate for the seats.

Tags Chick-fil-A EPA Ethics Job Scott Pruitt
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