The breadth and scope of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s corruption and disdain for basic legality, along with some basic ineptness in how blatant he is in his self-serving ways and venality, put him in the range of “swamp creature” extraordinaire Donald Trump. Truly, in addition to his devoted attention to the interests of polluting industry over humanity, Pruitt’s blatant and often petty corruption make him a true poster child of the Trump Kakisocracy.*
You have seen, almost certainly, reams of material about Pruitt’s distasteful to illegal practices in office — from his Maxwell Smart-like “cone of silence,” to his lavish travel arrangements, to that $50/night room in DC, to his imaginary security threats driving a massive security detail to… Then there are all of his actions to undermine the EPA’s core mission(s) and place it in service of fossil fuel industry profits, rather than people or the planet.
Amid the Trump kakistocracy and with Donald Trump himself, part of the problem is the unending wave of scandalous and criminal activity making it impossible to keep up with the scandals and overwhelming all of us with the “news of the day.”
As for Scott Pruitt, before noon today (Eastern Time), four pieces of “news of the day” — any one of which matched or exceeded any individual office holder “scandal” that occurred through eight years of the Obama-Biden administration.
- Pruitt met with a climate-science denying Catholic Cardinal who is accused of assisting in covering up sex abuse in Australia …
- and Pruitt’s team actively worked to misrepresent that meeting.
- Pruitt met with a lobbyist — who hadn’t registered for a long time as lobbyist — working for polluters …
- Pruitt charged Oklahoma’s taxpayers for a variety of office furniture
- Pruitt argued for undermining a tool in developing regulations …
- by radically mischaracterizing a Justice Scalia opinion supporting that approach.
Meeting with Climate Science Denying Cardinal. On his lavish taxpayer-funded trip to Italy, Pruitt met with Cardinel Pell, an Australian Cardinal who is third in the Vatican hierarchy and notable as the most senior Catholic at odds with the Pope re climate change science. In addition to his avowed science denial, Pell is also facing an investigation into his role in covering up sexual abuse by priests in Australia. Amid all of this, one of the striking Pruitt signature elements of his disdain for basic ethics — he and his team repeatedly lied about their role in securing the time with Pell and tried to cover up this meeting. And, also a signature element is Pruitt’s lavish style: this was a $240 per person lunch meeting.
— A Siegel (@A_Siegel) May 11, 2018
Remarkable NYT thread: Scott Pruitt dined last June with Cardinal Pell, a climate change skeptic facing sexual abuse charges. The EPA knew Pell was under investigation.
The Cardinal's name was not included in 4 versions of Pruitt's schedule released under FOIA. https://t.co/ExbUYaCn65
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 11, 2018
FOLLOW ALONG WITH US HERE, as we walk through a FASCINATING collection of documents The NYT has pulled together about a certain dinner in Rome that EPA's Scott Pruitt had last June with Cardinal Pell, who is now facing sexual abuse charges. (PLEASE CREDIT NYT )@LFFriedman pic.twitter.com/IZ4EIu3xfu
— Eric Lipton (@EricLiptonNYT) May 10, 2018
From Lobbyist to Political Appointee In yet another clear example of how Trump’s “draining the swamp” has a different meaning from anything anyone interested in good governance might consider, Bill Wehrum lobbied the EPA on behalf of the brick industry seeking (drastic) loosening of pollution standards and regulations. Wehrum, by the way, wasn’t registered as a lobbyist for a long time — including when he was lobbying Pruitt for the brick industry. Pruitt selected Wehrum to run the office that oversees the regulations that Wehrum was attacking.
— ClimateTruth (@climatetruth) May 11, 2018
Requesting reimbursement from the state and a campaign for the same purchases is known as “double-dipping” and has led to felony charges in Oklahoma before. Last year, a former Republican leader in the Oklahoma House of Representatives pleaded guilty to felony perjury for accepting taxpayer reimbursement for trips that had already been paid for with campaign funds.
Pruitt requested taxpayers reimburse him roughly $400 for a mirror, a plant, a planter and a vase bought in 2011. Records show Pruitt’s campaign reimbursed him in 2014 for identical totals.
This is a red flag.
This could lead to felony charges.https://t.co/Ln3sXqybZD
— The Hummingbird 🐦 (@SaysHummingbird) May 10, 2018
Spitting on Scalia’s grave. Scott “Rule of Law” Pruitt distorted (utterly misrepresented) a unanimous Supreme Court decision, an opinion written by radical anti-Catholic leftist SCOTUS Justice Anthony Scalia, in an effort to undermine EPA’s ability to protect human health. In short, Pruitt wants to have economic issues (and distorted analysis of economic issues) included in air pollution standard decision-making at a point in the process where the SCOTUS (as written by Scalia) was quite clear: the EPA cannot do that. A complicated issue, but a pretty blatant misrepresentation of the SCOTUS decision and Scalia’s writing — to the point of putting words into quoting the SCOTUS decision in a way that implies they were Scalia’s words and in a way that reverses Scalia’s quite clear intent.
Pretty impressive that @EPAScottPruitt rejects opinion written by #SCOTUS Justice Scalia, that radical leftist, in desperation to put pollution & polluters' profits before protecting Americans' health and lives. #PollutingPruitt strikes again. https://t.co/WOdFOwx7UV
— A Siegel (@A_Siegel) May 11, 2018
There, Justice Scalia wrote for a unanimous Supreme Court that the Clean Air Act unambiguously bars consideration of the economic consequences of MEETING clean air health standards during the process of SETTING those standards.
— John Walke (@jwalkenrdc) May 10, 2018
All of this before noon – and from just one member of the Trump Kakistocracy. I can’t even imagine what the afternoon might bring.
Yet another beautiful day in the dystopia that is Donald Trump’s neighborhood.
- Kakistocracy: Government by the least ethical and least competent of society.
- Along with many others, I heard countless times during the 2016 campaign “if I had done what she did, I would be in jail.” While there is much to get into about this, it is quite clear that any normal federal employee under any normal Administration who did any of the things Pruitt does would be out of a job pretty quickly … and quite possibly going to jail. And these four items are solely the Pruitt items that crossed my screen in a two-hour period this morning. Yet, I am not hearing in conversations — at all — “if I did what Scott Pruitt did, I’d be in jail …” … “If I lied, repeatedly, on my security clearance forms like Jared Kushner has, I’d be in jail.” … “If I profited over my government job like Trump is, I’d be in jail …” The same people who expressed outrage about Hillary Clinton’s email server seemingly 24/7 are notably and eerily silent about the Trump Kakistocracy. Why is that?