An internal email suggests that Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt may have personally signed off on one of the massive raises his top aides received, despite his claims to the contrary, The Atlantic reported Monday.
Two EPA officials speaking on the condition of anonymity told the outlet that a March email chain between the agency’s human resources team and Sarah Greenwalt, one of the aides who received a $56,765 pay bump, is causing a stir as it makes its way around the office amid the Inspector General’s probe into Pruitt’s conduct.
The email chain reportedly shows Greenwalt writing to the HR department to confirm her raise was being processed. She “definitively stated that Pruitt approves and was supportive of her getting a raise,” one of the sources told The Atlantic.
The alleged exchange is the latest suggestion that Pruitt knew about and supported the staggering raises, despite his claims to the contrary after news of the pay bumps became public.
Last week, two EPA officials and a White House staffer told The Washington Post that Pruitt had instructed other agency officials to carry out the raises for both Greenwalt and his other longtime aide Millan Hupp, who was given a $28,130 bump.
A day before the Post report, Pruitt had claimed to Fox News’ Ed Henry that he had no clue about the raises.
“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 that going forward,” Pruitt said after attempting to dodge the question several times.
“My jaw dropped when he said that,” one of the EPA sources told The Atlantic.
The reports build on mounting scrutiny about Pruitt’s spending, including his sweetheart rental of a condo on Capitol Hill to the ongoing inquiry into his first-class air travel. Last week, both The Washington Post and the New York Times reported that several high-ranking EPA officials have been reassigned or demoted for questioning the agency’s spending habits.