Watchdog groups call on EPA to probe past interaction with Fox News

A pair of left-leaning watchdog groups are calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to internally investigate the agency's past dealings with Fox News.

Democracy Forward and Restore Public Trust made the request in a letter sent to the EPA’s Office of Inspector General on Thursday.

In the letter, the groups take issue with a Daily Beast report that said producers from "Fox & Friends" and an aide to former EPA Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Trump administration to repeal waterway protections| House votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge| Administration takes key step to open Alaskan refuge to drilling by end of year Trump administration to repeal waterway protections The Hill's Morning Report - Gillibrand drops out as number of debaters shrinks MORE discussed a script before Pruitt appeared on the popular morning program in 2017.

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Emails reportedly revealed that Pruitt's team played a large part in what topics would be discussed on the show and what would be asked. They also showed that Pruitt was given pre-interview questions.

Fox News said in late November that it was planning to discipline employees who engaged in the conversations with Pruitt's team. The network did not provide details on who was being disciplined.

Democracy Forward and Restore Public Trust said in statement Thursday that they are demanding an "immediate investigation" into whether the EPA “violated federal laws that prohibit government funds from being expended to engage in covert propaganda."

"The public has a right to know whether the Trump Administration’s special relationship with the Fox News Channel has crossed the line from unsavory to unlawful," Democracy Forward Executive Director Anne Harkavy said. “Federal law bans secret propaganda for good reason: Americans need to know when government officials are pulling the strings of ostensibly private news broadcasts."