Energy & Environment

Pruitt denies receiving improper gifts as EPA chief

Former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt is denying that he received any "reportable gifts" last year, despite multiple allegations that he received improper contributions or aid from staff and others.

The statement came in Pruitt's personal financial disclosure for 2017, which he recently filed with the EPA's ethics office as required, and which the agency released Wednesday.

The filing also amounts to a denial of allegations that he had staff carry out personal tasks for him, help find a job for his wife, which could have been a gift, or that coal executive Joseph Craft's help getting tickets for Pruitt to a basketball game was a gift.

"I am aware there is correspondence to the EPA Office of General Counsel's Ethics Officer and/or the Office of Government Ethics asserting that certain actions or activities during 2017 may constitute 'gifts' to me that require inclusion on this report," Pruitt wrote in the document laying out his income and other financial information during the year.

"To the extent I am aware of specific allegations, I dispute the facts asserted and, accordingly, am not aware of reportable gifts," he said. "In the event there are any future findings to the contrary, I will address the issue at that time and amend this report as directed and/or necessary."

Kevin Minoli, the EPA's top ethics official, noted on the form that his office had advised Pruitt on "the need to report gifts, including gifts from subordinates."

Among other revelations, the form shows that Pruitt's wife, Marlyn Pruitt, made between $15,000 and $50,000 from her consulting firm.

It also shows that Pruitt owed as much as $300,000 in unspecified legal fees to two firms, Crowe & Dunlevy and Riggs Abney Neal Turpen.

He sold off investments worth as much as $370,000 during the year as well.

Pruitt stepped down in early July amid mounting ethics and spending scandals. He will have to file another financial disclosure in November, covering 2018 up to his resignation.

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