EPA Head Scott Pruitt Defends Himself During a Senate Budget Hearing

EPA Head Scott Pruitt Defends Himself During a Senate Budget Hearing

"So I share your concerns about some of these decisions".

Senator Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat from Maryland, said he was concerned the legal fund could exacerbate the ethical concerns surrounding Pruitt, especially if it received cash from anonymous donors seeking to influence EPA policy decisions.

The EPA administrator said he had worked with the White House Office of Legal Counsel and the Government Accountability Office to establish the fund, would follow their guidance and would publish information about donations. "Instead of seeing articles about efforts to return your agency to its core mission, I'm reading articles about your interactions with the industries that you regulate".

The senator has asked again whether Pruitt gave such an order. Pruitt is now the subject of at least 14 federal investigations and numerous prominent Democrats, and a few Republicans, have called for his resignation.

"I don't recall that happening", Pruitt replied, adding that "there are policies in place" governing the use of lights and sirens.

"Mr. Hart was a lobbyist and you rented a room from him and you had issues pending before your agency at the time that Hart's firm was working on", said Udall.

In a February 2017 email released Wednesday by Democratic Sens.

Udall is citing an email written by EPA's security chief saying Pruitt "encourages the use" of emergency lights. Perrotta has since resigned.

In a hearing in Washington, Sen.

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Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, could require Pruitt to take the oath before his testimony in front of her committee Wednesday morning.

"I am concerned that numerous important policy efforts that you are engaged in are being overshadowed because of a series of issues related to you and your management of the agency", she said.

"You have used your office to enrich yourself at the expense of the American taxpayer and public health and such abuses have led to several investigations", Udall said.

Pruitt is now under investigation for travel costs, pay raises for aides, and retaliation against whistle blowers among other allegations.

Moreover, a $43,000 soundproof phone booth installed last fall in the EPA head's office was determined in mid-April to have violated spending laws.

Pruitt said the agency made a mistake.

President Donald Trump expressed his confidence in Pruitt as recently as last week at a meeting with automakers, where Pruitt sat one seat away from Trump.

Public financial disclosure forms show that Gina McCarthyRegina (Gina) McCarthyPruitt's 24/7 security requested over fears of Trump policy backlash EPA documents detail threats against Pruitt Fuel economy: California's empty suit MORE, an EPA administrator during the Obama administration, utilized a 90 day extension for her 2015 disclosure. It will be his fourth time before a congressional committee this year. Pell has pleaded "not guilty" for those charges. "My honest apologies for causing any difficulty but we can not do open q&a from the crowd", Pruitt's scheduler emailed the host of one event Pruitt would attend. Former Comcast lobbyist Richard Smotkin helped arrange a controversial trip to Morocco last December and Matthew C. Freedman, a former lobbyist for foreign governments who once served on President Trump's transition team, played a central role in planning an Australia trip previous year. "Rick and I will attend and will be present but will not be listed as members of the delegation", wrote one of the lobbyists. That continues a trend: throughout his two prior appearances on Capitol Hill, Pruitt remained unresponsive to questions from Democratic lawmakers. Tom Carper of DE and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, both Democrats - do not sit on the subcommittee that will question Pruitt this week, but have requested the Republican chairman overseeing their committee bring in Pruitt.

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