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lunes, 9 de abril de 2018

Trey Gowdy unsure if EPA chief Scott Pruitt’s career is ‘going to make it’

Rep. Trey Gowdy doesn’t have high hopes for the scandal-plagued Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt.

The South Carolina Republican congressman said in a video recorded by activists that he doesn’t think Pruitt has much time left before he gets the ax.

Pruitt has been under scrutiny for ethics complaints having to do with reportedly lavish expenditures and a suspiciously cheap condo lease. Gowdy, who is chairman of the House Oversight Committee, reportedly began a probe into Pruitt on Friday over the lease, which was arranged by the wife of an energy lobbyist.

Gowdy: “I don’t have a lot of patience”

Members of environmentalist group Friends of the Earth questioned Gowdy about Pruitt at a promotional event for a book he wrote with fellow Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

“I don’t have a lot of patience for that kind of stuff,” Gowdy told them, referring to Pruitt’s alleged misconduct. “I’m not sure he’s going to make it that long. It gets worse every time there’s a report in the news.”

He added that public servants must be “a good steward” of taxpayer dollars, which he seems to think Pruitt has failed to exemplify. The EPA head has come under scrutiny for a number of ethical complaints having to do with allegedly extravagant spending on travel, security, private jets, and office furniture, not to mention his $50-per-night Washington condo arrangement; Pruitt paid just one-third the normal price for the property, which is co-owned by the wife of an energy lobbyist.

An internal EPA memo from March 30 said that Pruitt had not broken any rules for accepting a gift from a lobbyist, but this was followed by an April 4 memo which stated that the initial assessment did not take all the facts into account. An aide to Gowdy recently announced that “the EPA produced documents to the committee this week, including both the March 30 and April 4 [ethics] memos.”

This is a step forward in the right direction for Gowdy’s investigation, which began in February over first-class flights funded by taxpayer money; previously, he had “seen” the documents, but they hadn’t yet “produced them. They [only] let us come over and see them,” Gowdy said.

Trump: “Scott is doing a great job!”

While many Democrats and some Republicans have called for Pruitt’s ouster, President Donald Trump has come to Pruitt’s defense, blasting the “Fake News” media for spreading lies about him. He backed Pruitt on Saturday, praising his work at the EPA and defending his expenses.

Pruitt, for his part, denies any wrongdoing. According to The Hill, “Pruitt said the lease followed ethics requirements and that his spending is not excessive.”

Conservative groups defend Pruitt

Gowdy may question whether Pruitt can survive this reputation-busting blunder, but only a thorough investigation will give us the real answers. In the meantime, Pruitt’s success in reining in the “rogue, agenda-driven EPA” has a number of conservatives rising to his defense.

“Pruitt is delivering on policy changes that conservatives have wanted to see for years, if not decades,” one conservative organization’s leader told Politico. “There’s not a single member of the cabinet who has managed to deliver regulation rollbacks as much as Scott Pruitt has.”