EPA administrator failed to disclose former lobbying client

EPA administrator failed to disclose former lobbying client
© Anna Moneymaker

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler left a former lobbying client off of his financial disclosure documents, according to a new letter from House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsTurkey sanctions face possible wall in GOP Senate Cher offers to pay legal fees for security guard fired for repeating racial slur Baltimore mayor looks to rename downtown courthouse after Cummings MORE (D-Md.).

Wheeler did not list Darling Ingredients, a company that supplies ingredients for products ranging from fertilizers to fuel to pet and livestock food, when he first came to the EPA in 2018.

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However, lobbying group Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting, Wheeler’s former employer, showed that Wheeler lobbied on behalf of Darling in 2015 and 2016.

“These documents indicate that you may have improperly omitted Darling from your financial disclosure, and they raise concerns that you may have failed to identify other clients who paid for your services as a lobbyist during the period covered by your disclosure report,” Cummings wrote in the letter, which was also signed by Rep. Harley RoudaHarley Edwin RoudaTestimony from GOP diplomat complicates Trump defense Ex-Trump aide on Russia testifies for 10 hours as part of impeachment inquiry Democratic lawmaker says Barr's reported meeting with Murdoch should be investigated MORE (D-Calif.).

“We will again respond to the committee through the proper channels,” said EPA spokesman Michael Abboud.

Federal law requires officials to disclose any client over the past two years that paid them more than $5,000, and Wheeler’s compensation topped that amount by about $300 in 2015. Those figures were supplied by Darling Industries in response to a request by the committee.

Wheeler has also met with representatives from Darling Industries during his time at the EPA, something an agency lawyer said did not violate ethics laws.

Wheeler, who lobbied for a number of industries regulated by the EPA prior to joining the agency first as its deputy administrator, has long been criticized by Democrats for those ties.

In February, the committee asked Wheeler to turn over more documents related to his lobbying work, but two months after the due date, the EPA has yet to comply.

“To date, you have failed to comply with the committee’s request for documents, including documents relating to your compensation from Darling,” the letter said, asking Wheeler to please let the committee know if he intends “to comply with this request voluntarily or whether compulsory means will be necessary.” 

Updated: 6:45 p.m.