Washington, DC – Following months of reports of ethical and managerial lapses at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) joined 5 members of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee in releasing a letter they sent to EPW Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) calling for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to testify before the committee. Pruitt testified recently that profligate spending on luxury travel abroad and to his hometown, pay raises for top Pruitt aides, absenteeism among senior staff, and unprecedented government-funded personal security are the fault of Pruitt’s subordinates. At best, these revelations raise serious questions about Pruitt’s management of the agency, the Senators write.
“Administrator Pruitt’s testimony [on April 26], viewed in the most charitable light, depicted a chief executive who has failed to exert any oversight over his staff as they have, as he testified, spent exorbitant funds and made impactful personnel decisions without his knowledge or approval,” the Senators write. “His ready willingness to pass blame on to everyone around him, including career staff and his top political aides, shows that he is either unwilling or unable to lead.”
Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) signed the letter to Barrasso.
To date, the EPW Committee—the Senate committee with broad oversight authority over the EPA—has not had the Administrator testify regarding either the fiscal year 2018 or 2019 budgets. After testifying before two House committees on April 26, Pruitt is set to appear before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior and Environment on Wednesday.
On Monday, the EPA Inspector General sent a letter to Carper and Whitehouse contradicting Pruitt’s April 26 House testimony regarding the threats levied against him during his time as Administrator.
Full text of the letter is available below. A PDF copy is available here.