The Republican Character (Even More Fuckless)

#trumpswindle | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks to employees in Washington, D.C., 21 February 2017. (Photo: Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

This is unsurprising, though perhaps saying so risks overstating the point. Via Washington Post:

The EPA inspector general’s office announced in August that it had opened an inquiry into Pruitt’s frequent travel to his home state of Oklahoma. The internal watchdog at the time said its investigation was triggered by “congressional requests and a hotline complaint, all of which expressed concerns about Administrator Pruitt’s travel—primarily his frequent travel to and from his home state of Oklahoma at taxpayer expense.”

The probe was triggered in part by findings from the Environmental Integrity Project, a nonprofit group that detailed through public records that Pruitt had spent nearly half of the days in March, April and May in Oklahoma. Initially, EPA investigators said they planned to audit Pruitt’s travel records, as well as those of his security and top aides, through the end of July.

But on Friday, the inspector general’s office said it would expand that inquiry to include all of Pruitt’s travel through the end of September, and not just trips to Oklahoma.

While it is sometimes sufficient to simply make a point here or there about travel scandals in general, or perhaps Republicans and scandal, as such, and Steve Benen offers a grammar lesson with his headline, “Investigation expands into EPA’s Scott Pruitt”, which actually means, “Investigation into EPA’s Scott Pruitt expands”, the accident is hardly hyperbole, and the msnbc blogger intends a certain point worth paying attention to:

This story comes on the heels of reports that Pruitt holds “back-to-back meetings, briefing sessions and speaking engagements almost daily with top corporate executives and lobbyists from all the major economic sectors that he regulates—and almost no meetings with environmental groups or consumer or public health advocates.”

He also made time to chat with officials from the Family Research Council, a right-wing culture-war organization, which at first blush, pushes social issues that are unrelated to the EPA’s work. (Media Matters noted that Pruitt’s schedule omitted several interviews he did with far-right media outlets.)

These controversies are unrelated to concerns about the very expensive phone booth Pruitt is building for himself, his ridiculously large security team, his willingness to ignore EPA scientists, his misleading public remarks, the controversy about his private email address, and the allegations that he illegally hid correspondence that documented his cooperation with the oil and gas industries during his tenure in Oklahoma.

Indeed, it seems only a few days ago that Mr. Benen had occasion to note:

HHS Secretary Tom Price was under investigation, and the scandal led to his resignation. Zinke is facing more than one investigation. VA Secretary David Shulkin is under investigation. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is under investigation. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley was investigated for violating the Hatch Act. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has been caught up in so many controversies, it’s been genuinely difficult to keep up with all of them. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has faced accusations of lying under oath about his interactions with Russian officials during the campaign.

And that’s just Trump’s cabinet.

That a certain amount of this, like avoiding a basic travel scandal, ought to be pretty straightforward is an important point. The widespread failures to guard against the most basic appearances of wrongdoing, however—including stuff Republicans have been bawling about for decades—will stand out in history after the Trump debacle is finally finished.

____________________

Image note: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks to employees in Washington, D.C., 21 February 2017. (Photo: Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Benen, Steve. “Investigation expands into EPA’s Scott Pruitt”. msnbc. 9 Octpber 2017.

—————. “Widespread corruption allegations add to Trump World’s troubles”. msnbc. 5 October 2017.

Dennis, Brady. “EPA inspector general now investigating Pruitt’s use of military, private flights”. The Washington Post. 6 October 2017.

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