Pruitt’s spending, ethics in spotlight at Senate hearing


By Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin | Washington Post

WASHINGTON – Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt received a less-than-warm welcome from both Republicans and Democrats as he returned to Capitol Hill on Wednesday for a Senate budget hearing, which was dominated initially by questions about his spending and ethics decisions.

“I am concerned that many of the important policy efforts that you are engaged in are being overshadowed because of a series of issues related to you and your management of the agency,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who chairs the Appropriations Committee. “Instead of being asked about the work you are doing . . . I’m being asked, really constantly asked, to comment on [your] security, housing and travel.”

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While agreeing with many of Pruitt’s policy moves, Murkowski said that when it comes to his ethics, “I do think there are legitimate questions that need to be answered.”

Democrats were hardly as charitable.

“Every day there seems to be a new scandal and you at dead-center,” said Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., who called Pruitt’s management of the agency “disastrous” and his tenure there “a betrayal of the American people.”

Udall again called on Pruitt to resign, saying the former Oklahoma attorney general has treated his “position of public trust as a golden ticket for extravagant travel and fine dining.”

Udall has asked the Government Accountability Office to probe whether a recent EPA tweet violated a law that prohibits the use of federal funds for propaganda or publicity. In the tweet, the agency appeared to mock Democrats after the long-awaited confirmation of former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler as Pruitt’s top deputy.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., also used his opening statement to …read more

Source:: The Mercury News

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