POLITICS
11/30/2018 12:31 am ET

EPA Watchdog Closes 2 Of The Many Probes Into Former Chief Scott Pruitt

Pruitt resigned in July amid mounting scandals and more than a dozen federal investigations into his dealings.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general’s office has closed two of its investigations into former Administrator Scott Pruitt, saying it couldn’t complete them because he resigned before he was able to talk to investigators.

In a report to Congress on Thursday, the EPA’s watchdog said it wasn’t able to finish investigations into a sweetheart condo rental deal Pruitt made with a lobbyist or another probe into whether he abused his position and mismanaged members of his staff.

“Mr. Pruitt resigned prior to being interviewed by investigators. For that reason, the OIG deemed that the result of the investigation was inconclusive,” the agency’s Office of the Inspector General wrote. “The case will be closed.”

News of the closed investigations was first reported by The Washington Post.

Pruitt resigned in July amid several massive scandals and more than a dozen federal investigations into his behavior leading the EPA. He was temporarily replaced by his former deputy, Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist. However, the White House said in November Wheeler would be nominated to become the permanent head of the agency.

Scott Pruitt has kept a low profile since his resignation as head of the Environmental Protection Agency in July.
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI via Getty Images
Scott Pruitt has kept a low profile since his resignation as head of the Environmental Protection Agency in July.

Before his departure, the condo rental ― in which Pruitt paid just $50 a night to rent a room from Vicki Hart, the husband of a lobbyist who had business before the EPA at the time ― prompted a bipartisan outcry. Democrats charged that it amounted to an improper gift against agency rules. 

The second probe shuttered this week surrounded allegations that Pruitt regularly used staff for personal errands and business. In one instance, Pruitt reportedly asked an aide to buy an “old mattress” from the Trump International Hotel in Washington for an unknown purpose.

Pruitt has kept a relatively low profile since his departure. In September, The New York Times reported that he was in talks to get a new job working as a consultant to the coal industry, although a representative for a Kentucky coal company said such discussions were “preliminary” at the time.

“Obviously, any discussions would not involve lobbying the federal government,” the company, Alliance Resources Partners, said at the time.

CONVERSATIONS