Thanks to rounds and rounds of questions about the ethics of EPA chief Scott Pruitt, we now have confirmation — although we didn’t entirely need it — that appointing someone to lead an agency who had sued that agency while in their old job wasn’t the best idea.
Pruitt has come under scrutiny recently for issues ranging from high travel costs to renting a condo owned by the wife of a prominent energy lobbyist.
Against this backdrop, it’s now come out that a longtime associate administrator at the EPA is leaving their position.
CBS News is among the outlets to have confirmed as of early Thursday that senior counsel and associate administrator in the EPA’s Office of Policy Samantha Dravis has resigned from her position.
In a statement offered to CBS, Dravis praised Pruitt and apparently stayed away from mentioning the ethical questions that have engulfed the man she’s been working under.
She said, according to the outlet:
‘It has been an honor to serve in this role at EPA, and I am enormously grateful for the opportunity. I wish Administrator Pruitt and all of the public servants at EPA the very best.’
The Washington Post reported that Dravis submitted her resignation last week without regard to the ethics scandals that have come to define Pruitt recently.
She decided to leave D.C. in order to take a job in the private sector, according to reports. Her past positions outside of the Trump administration include associate director of political affairs in George W. Bush’s White House and president of the Rule Of Law Defense Fund, a public policy group associated with the Republican Attorneys General Association.
She’s leaving Pruitt to face rounds of continued questioning over whether his dealings as EPA Administrator have been ethical.
Although a memo written up on March 30 by top EPA ethics official Kevin Minoli deemed the arrangement in which Pruitt rented from an energy lobbyist’s wife as ethical, it’s now come out that he did not have access to all possibly relevant information when making his determination.
In addition, although Pruitt has repeatedly pointed to the approval of his 2017 living arrangement by Minoli, it’s come out that political aides inside the EPA pushed ethics officials inside the agency to make a determination about the appropriateness of the situation only after relevant news reports came out. Before the news reports, the ethics officials inside the agency didn’t even know about the living arrangement.
Besides the issue surrounding where he lived for much of 2017, Pruitt has also faced scrutiny for repeatedly flying first-class and thus costing taxpayers massive sums of cash. Two other individuals — HHS Chief Tom Price and VA Secretary David Shulkin — have been pushed out of the president’s Cabinet after their own travel scandals erupted; but for now, Pruitt still has a job.
He has worked to rollback environmental regulations since assuming his position, so he at least has that going for him in Trump World. Even still, the White House is hardly impressed by the attention that Pruitt has attracted. We all know how the president feels about news coverage of his administration that is even remotely negative.