From the Trump swamp, details emerged Tuesday morning that President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt meets near-daily with those he’s supposed to be regulating, including top corporate executives and lobbyists, and almost no meetings with environmental groups or citizen groups.
The New York Times reported that Pruitt’s schedule shows “back-to-back meetings, briefing sessions and speaking engagements almost daily with top corporate executives and lobbyists from all the major economic sectors that he regulates — and almost no meetings with environmental groups or consumer or public health advocates.”
Most of these “players have high-profile matters pending before the agency, with potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in regulatory costs at stake.”
Nothing to see here, folks. Just a swamp afillin’ at record pace.
Pruitt’s 320-page schedule from February through May also shows that he “took several trips home to Oklahoma for long weekends, often with one or two brief work meetings, followed by long stretches of downtime.”
The new administrator of the EPA who actually sued the EPA at least 14 times before being put in the position to allegedly enforce the laws he doesn’t agree with, they reported, “dined with top executives from Southern Company, one of the nation’s largest coal-burning electric utilities, at Equinox, a white-tablecloth favorite of Washington power brokers” – as you would if you called filling the swamp “drain the swamp.”
Eric Lipton and Lisa Freidman of the NYT also reported Pruitt taking a meal at BLT Prime inside the Trump International Hotel in DC, to meet with “the board of directors of Alliance Resource Partners, a coal-mining giant whose chief executive donated nearly $2 million to help elect President Trump.”
Or, as Trump himself would put that, “Crooked Pruitt” eating with Trump donors he’s supposed to be regulating.
The Trump swamp is dangerously close to overflow.
Pruitt “met privately with top executives and lobbyists from General Motors” who wanted him to block Obama era restrictions on emissions.
Pruitt also took non-commercial flights totaling more than $58,000, including charging the taxpayers for his private plane use in his home state, “In July, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt flew on a private plane for official travel in his home state of Oklahoma – leaving taxpayers on the hook for more than $14,000.”
This news comes on the heels of Trump’s HHS head Tom Price resigning over his use of taxpayer funded private charted jets after news that his travel costs had reached $1,000,000.
A federal watchdog is also reviewing a trip taken by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his wife to Kentucky to view the solar eclipse. Mnuchin said he doesn’t regret using a government plane, calling it “completely justifiable.”
Investigators are also looking at why Mnuchin requested the use of an Air Force jet to travel on his honeymoon to Europe.
The Interior Department’s watchdog agency launching an investigation into Secretary Ryan Zinke’s travels after reports emerged last week that he had used a private plane owned by an oil executive.
Zinke used military and private planes, including chartered private planes during a three-day trip to the Virgin Islands in March.
Then, days ago we learned that less than two weeks after Trump’s Veterans’ Affairs Chief signed a memo instructing VA staff to cut down on nonessential travel, he took a 10 day taxpayer funded trip with his entourage to Europe that included a River Cruise and visiting palaces, according to a Washington Post report.
We are not even a year into Donald Trump’s first year as president, and already the corruption is exploding from within. Trump promised to drain the swamp, but instead he’s not only filling it deliberately, but undermining the public’s faith in government to an extent that must please Vladimir Putin.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.