Pruitt had aide, GOP donors help wife find job: report

Pruitt had aide, GOP donors help wife find job: report
© Greg Nash

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief 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 enlisted a top aide and Republican donors in an effort to help his wife find a job, according to a report in The Washington Post.

The Post reported Wednesday that Pruitt reached out to donors including Doug Deason, whose family company has extensive holdings in the oil and gas industries, in the effort to find work for his wife Marlyn.

The effort appeared to focus on getting Marlyn Pruitt a job in conservative political circles. Marlyn Pruitt temporarily worked as an independent contractor for the Judicial Crisis Network. 

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Leonard Leo, the executive director of the Federalist Society who helped arrange the EPA head’s visit to Italy last year, referred her to the conservative group.

EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox referred the matter to Pruitt’s outside attorney, Cleta Mitchell, who did not respond to the Post’s requests for comment.

The report is the latest in a string of controversies surrounding Pruitt’s compliance with ethics standards and spending of taxpayer money. Many of the controversies have involved allegations that he used his position as EPA head, and the agency’s staff, for private gain, which can be illegal.

Despite the controversies surrounding Pruitt and signs of tension between he and GOP senators, the EPA chief has managed to hang on to his job. Just last week, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE offered a voice of confidence for the embattled administrator, who is at the forefront of the president's efforts to roll back Obama-era regulations on climate change.

“Scott Pruitt is doing a great job within the walls of the EPA. I mean, we're setting records,” Trump said Friday.

The Post reported earlier this month that Pruitt had another aide contact Chick-fil-A to try to get his wife a franchise, and he successfully got her a brief event-planning gig. Pruitt also reportedly used staff and his security detail to try to get him a used Trump International Hotel mattress, a lotion from Ritz-Carlton that he liked and pick up dry cleaning, among other tasks.

The new Post story says that Pruitt asked Samantha Dravis, his former head of the office of policy at the EPA, to assist in the effort to get Marlyn Pruitt a job.

The story quotes a friend of Dravis's as saying she felt pressured by Pruitt and that she felt uncomfortable tapping his political network to try to find a new source of income for his family.

Dravis has since left the EPA. A representative for Dravis did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Post reported that Deason told Dravis, Mitchell and other officials that he could not hire Marlyn Pruitt because of conflicts of interest given the fact that his business had interests regulated by the EPA.

But the Post reported he agreed to help in trying to come up with ideas for work for Marlyn Pruitt. Deason told the Post that Dravis eventually deferred his questions to Mitchell.