Last week, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was under fire for staying at a Washington apartment owned by a lobbyist friend of his for the low, low rate of only $50 a night, and now he's under fire for another controversy.
Apparently the White House refused to sign off on some huge pay raises for a couple of his political appointees, and someone at the EPA decided to go around that decision and managed to approve the raises anyway, and Pruitt wants us to believe he knows absolutely nothing about it.
And surprise, surprise, he was actually taken to task for it on Fox "News." Good for Ed Henry for doing his job for once. Pruitt of course retreated to their main fallback position whenever one of them gets caught with their hand in the cookie jar -- it's all the mean old liberals fault who are just out to get him.
Here's more on the interview from Fox:
Embattled Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt fired back at critics Wednesday, defending his decision to take a $50 a day condo rental from the wife of a lobbyist and claiming he just found out about a controversial pay raise for two of his staff members.
“My staff and I found out about it yesterday and I changed it,” Pruitt told Fox News in an exclusive wide-ranging interview.
When pressed to provide specifics, Pruitt said he wasn’t sure who would be held accountable or if the person who authorized the raise was a career EPA employee or a political appointee.
“You don’t know? You run the agency. You don’t know who did it?” Fox News’ Ed Henry asked.
“I found out this yesterday and I corrected the action and we are in the process of finding out how it took place and correcting it,” Pruitt responded, though he didn’t say if anyone would be fired.
In March, Pruitt approached the White House and asked for substantial pay raises for two of his closest aides, Sarah Greenwalt and Millan Hupp. Pruitt asked to bump Greenwalt’s salary to $164,200 from $107,435 and Hupp’s to $114,590 from $86,460. Since the employees were political appointees, the White House needed to sign off on it but refused.
According to The Atlantic, someone at the EPA used a little-known provision in the Safe Drinking Water Act to skirt around the White House’s decision and green light Greenwalt and Hupp’s salary increases.
“So, hang on. Both of these staffers who got these large pay raises are friends of yours. I believe from Oklahoma right?” Henry asked.
Pruitt responded, “They are staffers here in the agency.”
“They are friends of yours,” Henry said.
“Well, they serve a very important person,” Pruitt replied.
“And you did not know that they got these large pay raises?” Henry pressed.
Pruitt responded, “I did not know that they got pay raises until yesterday.”
Pruitt has also come under fire for leasing a Capitol Hill condo that was tied to a prominent fossil-fuels lobbyist for $50 a night. Though an agency ethics official said the condo deal didn’t violate federal ethics rules, it has raised eyebrows about Pruitt and resulted in another tense exchange.
“President Trump said he would drain the swamp,” Henry said.
“I know what that --,” Pruitt responded.
Henry then asked, “Is draining the swamp, renting an apartment from the wife of a Washington lobbyist?”
Pruitt said, “I don’t think that that’s even remotely fair to ask that question.”
Pruitt also faced growing questions about his frequent first-class travel that has led to media scrutiny and speculation about his job security.
Pruitt has spent between $2,000 and $2,600 on first-class flights back to Oklahoma. He also dropped $1,400 to $4,000 on flights to New York, Boston and Texas, according to a report.
Pruitt told Fox News that he blames the left and says they are out to get him.