Condo to Chick-Fil-A, Some of the Allegations Against Pruitt
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt was the target of numerous federal ethics investigations. Allegations included the eyebrow-raising — looking to obtain a used mattress from the Trump International Hotel — and graver ones, such as accounts that he used his office to try to drum up high-dollar business opportunities for his wife.
Some of the key allegations:
THE USED MATTRESS: Pruitt directed his then-aide, Millan Hupp, to call the Trump International Hotel in Washington about buying a used mattress, Hupp told staffers of a House oversight committee, which is investigating the EPA chief. Hupp also apartment-hunted for her then-boss. Staffers also reported being asked to pick up dry cleaning, find a particular lotion and help arrange personal travel for Pruitt and his family. Federal ethics codes bar staffers from conducting personal errands for bosses.
CHICK-FIL-A: Pruitt directed Hupp’s sister, Sydney, who also worked for him at EPA, to reach out to a senior executive at Chick-fil-A about a “business opportunity” on Pruitt’s behalf. Pruitt was interested in acquiring a franchise for the chicken restaurant for his wife. Pruitt laughed off a reporter’s questions about the matter, saying, “We love Chick-fil-A.” Federal ethics codes prohibit officials from using their office for personal gain.
SECURITY: Pruitt and the EPA cited the risk of attacks by people opposed to his policies to explain unusual and costly security decisions, including premium-class flights for Pruitt and a bodyguard and a $43,000 soundproof booth for private phone calls. He also demanded 24-hour-a-day protection by armed officers, resulting in a swollen 20-member security detail that blew through overtime budgets and racked up expenses of more than $3 million.
DC CONDO: Pruitt’s job had appeared in jeopardy since the end of March, when ABC News first reported that he leased a Capitol Hill condo last year for just $50 a night. It was co-owned by the wife of a veteran fossil fuels lobbyist whose firm had sought regulatory rollbacks from EPA. Mocking, hand-made posters soon appeared taped to telephone poles around Washington, showing a picture of a grinning Pruitt offering housing at bargain rates.
TRAVEL: Pruitt’s tenure at EPA of less than two years included trips to Italy, France and Morocco, flying premium class and moving with an entourage of EPA staffers and guards. Repeated weekend trips home to Tulsa on taxpayer-bought flights earned Pruitt negative press coverage.