Home Don Beyer Beyer And Lieu Request IG Investigation To Determine If Pruitt Violated Federal...

Beyer And Lieu Request IG Investigation To Determine If Pruitt Violated Federal Records Act

240
0

From Rep. Don Beyer’s office:

Beyer And Lieu Request IG Investigation To Determine If Pruitt Violated Federal Records Act

July 5, 2018 (Washington, D.C.) – Reps. Don Beyer and Ted Lieu today wrote to the Environmental Protection Agency Inspector General to request an investigation into whether Scott Pruitt violated the Federal Records Act. The letter cited recent reports that Pruitt intentionally hid or falsified records of meetings and discussions with representatives of industries regulated by the EPA.

The lawmakers wrote:

“We write regarding new allegations that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt intentionally hid or falsified records of meetings and discussions with representatives of industries regulated by the EPA.  These allegations, made publicly by one of the Administrator’s former senior aides, are supported by analyses of his public calendars. We request an immediate investigation to determine whether the Administrator violated the Federal Records Act… Congress established and updated these laws because the American people deserve to know how their government is operated, and who is exerting influence over determinations which affect them. We ask that you protect that public trust, and establish whether Administrator Scott Pruitt violated the Federal Records Act, and if so, determine what he concealed and why. Further, we ask that you take the appropriate steps to hold him accountable for such actions, as required by law.”

Text of the letter follows, and a signed copy can be found here:

The Honorable Arthur A. Elkins, Jr.
Inspector General (IG)
Office of Inspector General (OIG)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20460

Dear Inspector General Elkins:

We write regarding new allegations that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt intentionally hid or falsified records of meetings and discussions with representatives of industries regulated by the EPA.[1] These allegations, made publicly by one of the Administrator’s former senior aides, are supported by analyses of his public calendars. We request an immediate investigation to determine whether the Administrator violated the Federal Records Act.

Administrator Scott Pruitt’s former Deputy Chief of Staff told press this week that Pruitt held routine meetings to “’scrub,’ alter or remove from Pruitt’s official calendar numerous records because they might ‘look bad.’” He further explained that meetings, events, and phone calls were deliberately omitted from the version of his official calendar that was released to the public. The Administrator, the aide said, “had at one point three different schedules. One of them was one that no one else saw except three or four of us.”

Supporting the former aide’s statements, numerous meetings that have been mentioned in news reports—and in some cases even confirmed by EPA spokespeople—do not appear on Pruitt’s officially-released schedule. Omitted meetings include meetings with an energy lobbyist, the CEOs of a shipping company and a coal company, and Cardinal Pell, who was subsequently charged with criminal sexual offenses.[2]

The proper maintenance of official federal records is set forth by the Federal Records Act, which defines a record as:

“…all recorded information, regardless of form or characteristics, made or received by a Federal agency under Federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business and preserved or appropriate for preservation by that agency or its legitimate successor as evidence of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the United States Government or because of the informational value of data in them…”.[3]

Willful concealment or destruction of such records is a federal crime carrying penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment.[4]

Congress established and updated these laws because the American people deserve to know how their government is operated, and who is exerting influence over determinations which affect them. We ask that you protect that public trust, and establish whether Administrator Scott Pruitt violated the Federal Records Act, and if so, determine what he concealed and why. Further, we ask that you take the appropriate steps to hold him accountable for such actions, as required by law.

Sincerely,