Environment Committee Chair Seeks Answers from Pruitt Over Multiple Email Addresses
WASHINGTON – The chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is seeking details about Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt's use of four different agency email addresses.
The Hill reports that Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., sent a letter Friday to Pruitt asking him to “confirm that the EPA does in fact search all your official email accounts when responding to [Freedom of Information Act] requests?” The multiple email addresses were first reported last week by The Washington Post.
Sens. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Tom Carper, D-Del., have also written the EPA’s inspector general, asking him to investigate Pruitt’s multiple emails. Merkley and Carper wrote:
We write to share our deep concern over Administrator Pruitt’s reported use of multiple email accounts. . . . It is imperative that there be an investigation into whether the agency has properly searched these email addresses for responsive documents in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
“Evading federal records requests by using multiple emails fits Pruitt’s pattern of deception and smoke and mirrors to a T,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “It’s standard operating procedure by any shady operator to try to keep one step ahead of the authorities and those he’s fleeced.”
“Only government officials with some serious dirty dealings would move between multiple email accounts,” Cook added. “Between his four email accounts and his $43,000 private phone booth, Pruitt is taking all the appropriate steps to keep lawmakers, journalists and the prying eyes of taxpayers from learning what he’s been up to since becoming the head of EPA.”
According to The Washington Post’s report and the letter from lawmakers to the EPA inspector general, the email addresses Pruitt has used while head of the agency include: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected].
Until now, Barrasso has been one of Pruitt’s staunchest allies in the Senate. Just last month, Pruitt joined Barrasso and fellow Wyoming Republican Sen. Mike Enzi for a tour of the Black Thunder coal mine in Wright, Wyo. However, the growing scandals surrounding the administrator are clearly cause for concern for the head of the EPW committee.
“During your confirmation hearing, I specifically asked you to 'refrain from taking any … action that makes it difficult or impossible for the public to access your official written communications under the Freedom of Information Act.' You agreed to my request,” Barrasso wrote in his letter to Pruitt.
There are at least 10 federal investigations into Pruitt’s unethical behavior and lavish spending of taxpayers' hard-earned money, and 108 members of Congress from both chambers have now called for Pruitt to resign or be fired.
This post was updated on April 17, 2018