June 5, 2018 by Chris Kite
It’s not as if we didn’t expect corruption. He was the first presidential candidate in decades not to release his tax returns. He refused to divest from his businesses. He had a reputation of crooked business actions and has left a trail of wreckage in his wake. His cabinet is filled with unqualified industry insiders.
But I find the blatant and open corruption of Scott Pruitt and the EPA to be absolutely astounding. We’re not just The list of his actions is long.
- He has put industry shills in top EPA jobs. These are people that have zero experience in protecting the environment. These are people that are more interested in making money off natural resources and polluting the environment than protecting America’s environment or our health and well being.
- He has reassigned “troublemakers.” Those that speak up about problems or refuse to play along with his fake science and running of the EPA as an arm of US industry are reassigned to positions that waste their talent, are outside the scope of their career, or are simply aimed at discouraging them so they quit.
- He has spent tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money on travel that is simply not required for his job.
- He has round the clock security and spent tens of thousands of tax payer dollars on a secure “phone booth.” This isn’t required for a job that should be open and transparent to the American public. He is under no threat and should not be taking actions that require such secrecy.
- He spent over $3,200 on personalized journals and silver pens. This is a clear abuse of taxpayer money.
- He used a top aid to perform personal services for him such as hunting for a used mattress from a Trump hotel, booking personal travel, and hunting for a house.
- He had his executive scheduler contact the Chairman and President of Chik-fil-A to help his wife start a franchise. While they never completed the franchise application, it is a clear use of government employees for personal use.
The Trump administration has argued that he is simply being picked on by the media because they don’t like what he is doing. Which is true in that people are not fond of his environmental policies that are reversing protections of the environment and our health. But if someone is going to enact horrible policies that endanger our future, they better be squeaky clean. Scott Pruitt is anything but! So if you want to destroy the environment, do it within the scope of the law!
So why am I so upset given that I expected corruption? It is because the GOP is being so cowardly in refusing to address corruption throughout the administration. The lawlessness and corruption of the Trump Administration is likely to have ramifications for years to come. The GOP members of congress need to move beyond partisan politics and get engaged. Our founding fathers were wise to create a strong separation of powers. But if our elected members of the house and senate are going to ignore egregious acts of corruption, they are not doing their jobs and they are letting the country slip out of control.