This post has been updated.
The federal government's top ethics official is raising serious questions about Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt's potential violations of law. Those include messages threatening to leave scrapings of old paint at the administrator's office and one telling Pruitt "we are watching you" on the agency's climate-related policies. They included Pruitt's discounted housing rental arrangement with an energy lobbyist and his use of first-class flights for official EPA trips.
Continuing with the use of bold and underline print, the memo states that "u$3 sing all source intelligence resources, EPA Intelligence has not identified any specific credible direct threat to the EPA Administrator".
"Thus far, Pruitt's conduct has raised no red flags with the EPA's so-called ethics office, which seems to be run by Gordon Gekko", said EWG President Ken Cook. "The officials that were involved in that process should not have done what they did".
The agency pushed back strongly on Tuesday. "Americans should all agree that members of the President's Cabinet should be kept safe from these violent threats". Mario Caraballo, a military veteran who served as deputy associate administrator at the EPA's Office of Homeland Security, was placed on leave.
In his letter, Apol called the reports of reassignments and demotions "extremely" concerning.
The official who issued the original statement, Justina Fugh, has said that she did not have all the information when she made that initial statement.
"My staff did and I found out about that yesterday, and I changed it", he said. "This letter selectively quotes non-public documents".
And Pruitt - among the most aggressive of Trump's appointees in cutting federal regulations - enjoys wide support among GOP lawmakers, several of whom are either standing by him or at least avoiding publicly scolding his actions.
The Workplace of Authorities Ethics is answerable for oversight of government department officers and ethics places of work inside authorities businesses however would not have the authority to conduct its personal investigations into allegations of misconduct. "OGE even goes so far to cite authorities that could lead to an OGE investigation and disciplinary recommendations if the EPA drops the ball". An EPA spokesman claimed that Pruitt was unaware of some of these extravagant outlays and rejected the notion that concerned staffers had been punished, but the administrator has already shown what his denials are worth.
The EPA's internal watchdog began looking into Pruitt's frequent travel back to Oklahoma in August of past year. The same spokesperson told CNN that that person meant to say "the administrator's office", not Pruitt personally.
They have also been encouraged to apply by the Trump administration's recent efforts to broker a deal between the oil and corn industries to reduce the costs of the RFS, industry sources said.
― The EPA inspector general in March 2017 investigated a postcard sent to the EPA that said: "Get out while you still can, Scott", "You ignorant fuck", and "You are evil incarnite", according to a report obtained by E&E. "It may be that the materials we have been provided are incomplete and that EPA has additional information that justifies its public position", Whitehouse and Carper write.