U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) joined a group of 37 senators in introducing a resolution calling for the immediate resignation of Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt. The resolution comes in response to Pruitt’s repeated ethics violations, misuse of taxpayer dollars, retribution against whistleblowers, and contempt for science that is fundamentally at odds with the mission of the EPA. A companion resolution was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by a group of 130 representatives.
“We voted against Scott Pruitt’s confirmation because we believed he was the wrong choice to defend public health and the environment. His record since has not only justified these concerns – using discredited polluter arguments to loosen enforcement of clean air and water laws and trying to abolish the Chesapeake Bay Program – but he has also misused taxpayer funds in a shocking number of different ways. From unjustified first class flights, to leasing an apartment from an energy lobbyist, to bizarre spending on a soundproof phone booth and bulletproof desk, to arrogant demands for a motorcade with the right to bypass D.C. traffic lights, to disciplining employees who raised questions about all this, we have had enough. Public servants are entrusted with the responsibility of carrying out policies that are in the best interest of our nation. During his tenure Pruitt has shown no regard for public trust or ethical standards required for him to carry out the post. It’s time for him to resign.”
The resolution follows numerous revelations about Pruitt’s ethical violations, widespread conflicts of interest, and repeated misuse of taxpayer dollars for his personal benefit, including:
- The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office determined that the EPA violated federal law by purchasing a $43,000 phone booth for Pruitt’s office – and then hiding that purchase from Congress.
- Pruitt entered into a sweetheart housing deal to rent a Capitol Hill condo from the wife of a lobbyist – paying just $50 a night, and only paying for the nights he slept there.
- Pruitt has racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in bills for luxury travel perks, including booking lavish first class and charter flights to Europe and elsewhere, staying in luxury hotels, and traveling with a huge entourage of staff and security.
- Pruitt has reportedly reassigned or demoted EPA staffers who questioned his spending habits – at the same time that the EPA Inspector General is investigating him for giving unusual pay raises to favored aides.
- Pruitt has deployed EPA enforcement officers to provide round-the-clock security with questionable justification.
The lawmakers also noted in the resolution that, in addition to flouting the ethical standards of his office, Pruitt has done untold damage to the EPA and carried out a long list of actions to benefit friends who are top American polluters – at the expense of the health, safety, and livelihood of American families.
The 39 cosponsoring senators represent the highest number of senators in U.S. history to sign on to a resolution formally calling for a cabinet official’s resignation.