It turns out that new EPA head Scott Pruitt pulled a ‘Hillary’ during his tenure as Oklahoma Attorney General, using a private email account for official business. The story was first reported by a local FOX affiliate.
Now, there is nothing illegal about this under Oklahoma state law, provided records of such communications are freely available for public inspection. However, such use of a private email account in order to conduct government business is against federal law. Furthermore, Pruitt lied about the issue during his hearing in front of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee early in February.
During the hearing, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) asked Pruitt if he had ever used his personal email account or any other “non-official” form of online communication for the purpose of official business.
“I use only my official OAG [Office of the Attorney General] email address and government issued phone to conduct official business.”
Information requested by the Center for Media and Democracy nearly two years ago tells a much different story. That information, which was released last week, was in connection wit the botched execution of Clayton Lockett and a related case involving the availability of certain lethal injection drugs in which Pruitt’s office “misrepresented facts” – no surprise there.
At first, it wasn’t clear as to whether or not emails in that case were sent from a personal account or not. However, on February 24th the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office confirmed that this was indeed the case. This flies in the face of Pruitt’s own sworn testimony before the U.S. Senate committee. It also makes meaningless his promises that he would confine himself to the use of official EPA email accounts while conducting official business.
Meanwhile, the Oklahoma AG’s office is fighting to withhold additional records from the public, claiming they are exempt from Oklahoma’s Open Records Act.
Now, Pruitt – an avowed climate change denier and “useful tool” for the fossil fuel industry – is heading the very same federal agency that he has sued repeatedly. He has vowed to dismantle any and all federal regulations passed under the Obama Administration that protect air and water quality and address the issue of climate change. Like virtually every other one of Trump’s corrupt Cabinet nominees, he is determined to destroy the very agency he will be running.
Under normal circumstances in a functioning democracy that follows the rules of law, Pruitt’s lies would immediately disqualify him from holding such a post. The problem is that we no longer have a functioning democracy. The Executive Branch has been captured by kleptocrats and liars who will stop at nothing to destroy this country and suck every drop of blood from its people and the environment for their own gain. Furthermore, they hold themselves unaccountable to anyone but themselves and believe they are completely above the laws that the rest of us must live by.
Scott Pruitt should be removed from office immediately – but considering that Trump himself is a pathological liar and is suffering no consequences, being enabled by the most corrupt Congress in 100 years, we shouldn’t be holding our collective breath.