CONTACT: Jordan Libowitz
202-408-5565 | [email protected]
Washington—EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and his staff have engaged in a pattern of misconduct that undermines the integrity of the agency’s policy-making process, according to a request for investigation into the systemic failures of the EPA’s ethics program filed today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) with the agency’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
Several matters involving Pruitt and other senior EPA appointees raise serious concerns both about the process by which ethics advice and determinations are sought and made at EPA, and whether ethics and other laws were violated. These matters include allegations of accepting prohibited gifts, misusing government resources, and abusing travel and special hiring authorities, as well as engaging in retaliatory actions directed at employees who voiced objections to the conduct of top officials.
“EPA’s ethics program appears to be broken and in disarray,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said. “This many scandals coming from one agency in so short a time may be unprecedented, and the systematic undermining of the agency’s ethics program has made a bad situation much worse.”
In some cases, Pruitt and other officials appear to have sought ethics advice after the fact, without having disclosed all relevant facts. In others, they appeared not to have obtained ethics advice at all. Even worse, allegations of retaliation against officials who challenged the conduct of top officials undermines confidence in the decision-making process for ethics matters.
“There’s an overwhelming perception that the head of EPA and his staff have engaged in a pattern of misconduct that undermines the integrity of the agency’s policy-making process,” Bookbinder said. “A thorough investigation and review by OIG is necessary to fully understand why the agency’s ethics program has systematically failed to respond effectively to these ethics abuses.”