Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) said Wednesday that Administrator Scott Pruitt might have to resign if he continues to compile questionable expenses while leading the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Pruitt has been accused of improperly spending federal funds several times since he became agency administrator in 2017.
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The spending in question includes travel, office decorating, security, an apartment rental from a lobbyist, and other expenses, which resulted in two congressional hearings. Inhofe said that Pruitt might have to resign if it continues.
“I’m afraid my good friend Scott Pruitt has really done some things that surprised me,” Inhofe (shown above, left) told host Laura Ingraham of “The Laura Ingraham Show,” her radio program. “He is capable of doing the job, but he has to do the job and quit worrying about these other things because every day something new comes out. So I’ve taken the position that if that doesn’t stop, I’m going to be forced to be in a position where I’m going to say, well, Scott, you’re not doing your job.”
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Inhofe adds that he plans on sending a message to Pruitt (above right) expressing his concerns. Ingraham then asked whether he should be replaced with someone who can also fulfill President Donald Trump’s agenda like cutting regulations without all the added scandals. Inhofe answered that if things don’t change, he might have to resign.
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“I see these things, they upset me just as much as they upset you and I think something needs to happen to change that,” Inhofe said. “One of the alternatives would be for him to leave that job.”
Inhofe called for Pruitt’s resignation shortly after the questionable expenses started coming to light April 24. He responded by saying it depends on the scandal when asked whether he should leave the position. Republicans elsewhere have also called for him to step down in light of the scandals.
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The U.S. Office of Government Ethics released a letter on April 6 that listed questionable expenses such as paying $50 a night to rent a room from a lobbyist, traveling first class, and demoting or reassigning agency employees who were trying to ensure the expenses didn’t violate internal rules or the law.
The Government Accountability Office then released a report on April 16, which found that the agency violated federal spending laws when purchasing a $43,000 soundproof privacy booth so that Pruitt could make private phone calls in his office.
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Senate Democrats had requested the report.
Connor Wolf covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter.
(photo credit, homepage image: Scott Pruitt, CC BY-SA 2.0, by Gage Skidmore; photo credit, article image: Jim Inhofe, Scott Pruitt, CC BY-SA 2.0, by Gage Skidmore)
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