LATEST PAPER
84° Good Evening
84° Good Evening
OpinionEditorial

EPA head defines the Washington swamp

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt testifies before

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee about ethics scandals on April 26. Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images / BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI

Give Scott Pruitt credit. The head of the Environmental Protection Agency is resolute — nothing will stop him from breaking all records for federal ethics investigations, being the subject of about a dozen now. He is generous to a fault — he just keeps giving probers more material to probe. And he has no shame.

The most recent news? Pruitt had an EPA employee contact Chick-fil-A so he could ask about his wife getting one of its lucrative fast-food franchises. Asked by a New York nonprofit to speak at a conference, he approached it about his wife, and the group hired her to do the event planning.

Pruitt twice asked a government employee to scout out apartments for him in Washington and to plan a family trip to the Rose Bowl in California. He also asked her to fill an unusual request — to find out how much it would cost to buy a used mattress from the Trump International Hotel.

Pruitt doesn’t get it. He expresses surprise at the controversy over his actions. He blamed Chick-fil-A criticism on resistance to his EPA policies, saying, “With great change comes, I think, opposition.” And, oh yeah, he said that he and his wife love Chick-fil-A.

Let’s be clear: This has nothing to do with Pruitt’s policies, which are awful. Federal ethics laws prohibit public officials from using their staff or position for personal gain. They also bar officials from asking subordinates to do personal tasks.

This is on top of the first-class plane travel, the $50-a-night condo from an environmental lobbyist, his demand for a 24/7 security detail, the $43,000 soundproof office phone booth, the flashing lights and sirens on his motorcade, the college basketball tickets from a coal executive trying to undo Obama-era environmental regulations, the bullet-resistant seat covers for his SUV, and on and on. Ad nauseam.

Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, a Republican who voted to confirm Pruitt, now says he is “as swampy as you get.” She’s right. President Donald Trump has pledged often to drain the swamp. There’s only thing for the president to do.

Pull the plug on Pruitt.

Top News stories