Rep. Don Beyer leads House Democrat push for criminal investigation of Scott Pruitt

Don BeyerRep. Don Beyer (D-VA) today led a group of US Representatives asking the FBI and Department of Justice to open a criminal investigation into EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt for potential violation of corruption laws.

The letter was signed by Reps. Beyer, Gerald Connolly (D-VA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA).

The members wrote:

“We write you with grave concerns that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Pruitt has used his public office and official, taxpayer-funded resources for the personal gain of himself and his family, in violation of federal law.

This week’s revelation that Administrator Pruitt used his public office – including both his position and EPA staff – to attempt to get his wife a Chick-fil-A franchise is the latest in a string of unethical spending and management decisions that have given rise to twelve federal investigations. Administrator Pruitt directly, and admittedly, used EPA resources to attempt to secure a job for his wife.

Pruitt later made another attempt to secure his wife a job using his position at the EPA. Pruitt reportedly approached Matthew Swift, the chief executive of Concordia, a New York nonprofit. Swift later paid Marlyn Pruitt $2,000, plus travel expenses, to help with logistics for the group’s annual conference in September – a conference at which Administrator Pruitt spoke.

Despite Pruitt’s testimony to the contrary before Congress, documents from the firm of Pruitt’s lobbyist-landlord showed that he lobbied the EPA several times on behalf of clients.  Companies represented by the firm of Pruitt’s landlord also benefitted from EPA decisions during Pruitt’s stay in the townhouse—the extent of which we still do not fully know.

At the very least, we know that federal ethics laws bar public officials from using their position or staff for private gain.  Administrator Pruitt has certainly done just that. Further, his actions related to his wife’s employment and the quid-pro-quo condo situation with industry lobbyists may have crossed a line into criminal conduct punishable by fines or even by time in prison.

We formally request that the FBI open an investigation into Administrator Scott Pruitt’s conduct to assess whether he broke the law, including criminal statutes prohibiting public corruption.”

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