Pruitt: Chick-fil-A is a 'franchise of faith'

Pruitt: Chick-fil-A is a 'franchise of faith'
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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittGovernment watchdog probing EPA’s handling of Hurricane Harvey response Wheeler won’t stop America’s addiction to fossil fuels Overnight Energy: Trump rolls back methane pollution rule | EPA watchdog to step down | China puts tariffs on US gas MORE is defending actions he took to try to help his wife secure a franchise opportunity with the fast food company Chick-fil-A, calling it a “franchise of faith.”

In an interview on Wednesday with a Nexstar correspondent, Pruitt defended reports that he sought to help his wife start a franchise with the chicken company by setting up a meeting with the help of an EPA staffer.

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“Look my wife is an entrepreneur herself. I love, she loves, we love Chick-fil-A as a franchise of faith and one of the best in the country,” Pruitt said.

He added: “We need more of them in Tulsa, we need more of them across the country.”

Pruitt's executive scheduler helped organize a call between Pruitt and a representative of Chick-fil-A in the early months of his tenure at EPA, according to internal EPA emails released through a Freedom of Information Act request obtained by the Sierra Club that was first reported by The Washington Post.

In an email to Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-A chairman and president, Pruitt's scheduler asked if he would meet with Pruitt to discuss “a potential business opportunity.”

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.

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 to his rental of a Capitol Hill condo from the wife of a prominent energy lobbyist for only $50 a night.

More recently, Pruitt has faced scrutiny for 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.