Scott Pruitt's Fancy-Pen-Buying Days Are Numbered

Congressional Quarterly  CQ-Roll Call Group

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt asked members of his 24/7 security detail to run errands for him on occasion, including picking up his dry cleaning and taking him in search of a favorite moisturizing lotion, according to two individuals familiar with those trips who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk frankly.

It's only a matter of time before Pruitt tries to get the EPA's enforcement division, or what's left of it, to fix his parking tickets. "So, that's something we were very excited about". He adds that the country needs more Chick-fil-As and laughs.

Hupp was recently in the news, just this week, after the Washington Post reported she had worked to arrange a meeting between her boss and the head of Chick-fil-A.

CNN, the Washington Post, and other outlets have attacked Pruitt for renting out a condominium owned by lobbyists.

Founded in Atlanta, the Chick-fil-A chain is known for incorporating Christianity into its business code, including shutting down nationwide on Sundays. Joni Ernst, a staunchly conservative Republican from Iowa, suggested Pruitt should resign. The focus of almost a dozen federal inquiries into his travel expenses, security practices and other issues, Pruitt was on the Hill to testify about his agency's FY2019 budget proposal. Pruitt announced the departure of aide Millan Hupp in an email on June 6. On the other hand, you may not remember that Pruitt also spent around $1,560 of taxpayer money on 12 fancy fountain pens, and roughly the same amount on fancy journals. Pruitt apparently dined there so frequently that the White House Cabinet affairs team told agency chiefs of staff during a meeting past year that Cabinet members should consider eating elsewhere sometimes.

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Questioned by Udall about the EPA tweet in a Senate hearing last month, Pruitt said: "I was unaware of the tweet and that shouldn't have occurred".

Their resignations leave Pruitt increasingly isolated at the EPA, where he has lost the confidence of most of the agency's career staff and many conservative political appointees who feel that Pruitt's ethical lapses have done a disservice to the President's agenda.

For his part, Pruitt suggested the criticism, investigations and unending stream of negative revelations about him were all political attacks motivated by his efforts to roll back environmental regulations.

"I don't think it looks good but I like what the administrator has been doing from a policy perspective", he said.

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