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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 8:40 am 
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Via Talking Points Memo:

Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana said Pruitt’s behavior has begun to hurt Trump’s credibility, as well as the Republican Party generally.

“I don’t mean to be too harsh, but you can’t just go around acting like a big shot, and you can’t go around seeing how close you can come to the line, and you can’t go around disrespecting taxpayer dollars,” Kennedy said Tuesday. “It shouldn’t be tolerated. That’s part of the swamp that we’re trying to clean up.”

Pruitt has faced a steady trickle of revelations involving pricey trips in first-class seats and unusual security spending, including a $43,000 soundproof booth for making private phone calls. He also demanded 24-hour-a-day protection from armed officers, resulting in a swollen, 20-member security detail that blew through overtime budgets and racked up expenses approaching $3 million.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said officials were “evaluating these concerns and we expect the EPA administrator to answer for them.”

Pruitt’s prepared testimony for the House environment subcommittee made no reference to ethics issues. Released ahead of the hearing, Pruitt promoted his prior accomplishments and remarked on his priorities for the coming budget year.

EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said congressional hearings were an opportunity to describe the agency’s accomplishments, which he said included efforts to repeal the Obama administration’s clean power plan, eliminating lead and reducing staffing levels at EPA.

Pruitt in the past has often sought to deflect questions about any missteps by blaming his subordinates.

Asked about his frequent use of premium-class airfare in February media interviews, Pruitt said, “I’m not involved in any of those decisions.” The administrator said his security chief made the decision for him to fly in first class after an unpleasant interaction with another traveler raised safety concerns.

Pruitt’s troubles began in earnest last month, when ABC News first reported he had leased a Capitol Hill condo last year for just $50 a night that was co-owned by the wife of a veteran fossil fuels lobbyist whose firm had sought regulatory rollbacks from EPA.

Both Pruitt and the lobbyist, Steven Hart, denied he had conducted any recent business with EPA. But Hart was forced to admit last week he had met with Pruitt at EPA headquarters last summer after his firm, Williams & Jensen, revealed he had lobbied the agency on a required federal disclosure form.


He gets to speak for himself today. It'll be interesting to hear whether Joe think's he's at fault after this, or whether he'll continue to pretend that he was in the dark, and his aides made all these decisions behind his back...


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