Campaign Legal Center

The Pruitt Watch (Peat Fire)

#DrainTheSwamp | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Detail of 'Lucifer', by Franz von Stuck, 1890.

While the idea of a rioting dumpster fire experienced brief vogue among media commentators trying to describe the Donald Trump presidency, the slowburning, filthy corruption of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt seems to describe something akin to a peat fire. The lede from the New York Times:

Since moving to Washington, Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, has attracted the attention of federal investigators because of his unusual association with lobbyists, including his rental of a condominium last year owned by the wife of a lobbyist with business before the E.P.A.

As a state senator in Oklahoma 15 years ago, Mr. Pruitt went even further: He bought a home in the state capital with a registered lobbyist who was pushing for changes to the state’s workers’ compensation rules—changes that Mr. Pruitt championed in the legislature.

And as with the condominium rental in Washington, Mr. Pruitt never publicly disclosed his financial relationship with the lobbyist, who, like Mr. Pruitt, lived in the home when in Oklahoma City on business.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment, on Capitol Hill, 26 April 2018, in Washington D.C. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)But if for some reason the Pruitt Watch seems frustrating, or even verges toward incomprehensible, perhaps the striking report from The Atlantic suggests a flashpoint:

As Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt faces a seemingly endless stream of scandal, his team is scrambling to divert the spotlight to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. And the White House isn’t happy about it.:

In the last week, a member of Pruitt’s press team, Michael Abboud, has been shopping negative stories about Zinke to multiple outlets, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the efforts, as well as correspondence reviewed by The Atlantic.

“This did not happen, and it’s categorically false,” EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said.

To the other, an unnamed White House official claiming knowledge of the situation explained: “Absolutely nothing Scott Pruitt did would surprise me.” And, yes, that last might as well include, the prospect of the EPA Administrator simply persisting and enduring, though the article did not.

(more…)

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The Donald Trump Show (Rulz)

Real estate mogul Donald Trump announces his bid for the presidency in the 2016 presidential race during an event at the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York City on 16 June 2015. Trump, one of America's most flamboyant and outspoken billionaires, threw his hat into the race Tuesday for the White House, promising to make America great again. The 69-year-old long-shot candidate ridiculed the country's current crop of politicians and vowed to take on the growing might of China in a speech launching his run for the presidency in 2016. "I am officially running for Prsident of the United States and we are going to make our country great again," he said from a podium bedecked in US flags at Trump Tower on New York's Fifth Avenue. The tycoon strode out to the strains of "Rockin' in the Free World" by Canadian singer Neil Young after being introduced by his daughter Ivanka. His announcement follows years of speculation that the man known to millions as the bouffant-haired host of American reality TV game show "The Apprentice" would one day enter politics. Trump identifies himself as a Republican, and has supported Republican candidates in the past. But in this announcement speech he did not say explicitly if he was running for the party's nomination or as an independent. (Photo credit: Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty)

This is not something we should find surprising:

Donald Trump’s campaign is still soliciting illegal donations from foreign individuals―including members of foreign governments at their official email addresses―weeks after the campaign was put on notice by watchdog groups.

Foreign members of parliament from the United Kingdom and Australia confirmed to The Hill that they received fundraising solicitations from the Trump campaign as recently as July 12―two weeks after a widely publicized FEC complaint issued on June 29 by non-partisan watchdogs Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center.

(Swan and Neidig)

Or, rather, we might simply say it sounds about right.

Because even if we somehow might set aside, just for a moment, the magnitude of the Donald Trump spectacle―you know, the whole denial and disbelief part―there remains a question of just how Donald Trump’s exponential boorishness and pointed disdain for general decency should surprise us.

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Image note: Donald Trump announces his candidacy for the Republican 2016 presidential nomination at Trump Tower in New York City, 16 June 2015. (Photo credit: Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty)

Swan, Jonathan and Harper Neidig. “Trump campaign solicits illegal foreign donations despite warnings”. The Hill. 16 July 2016.