Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt has accepted lavish gifts from a billionaire coal executive who has sought, and not-coincidentally received, regulatory relief from Pruitt's office.
According to an exclusive report from the New York Times, billionaire industry executive Joseph W. Craft III gave Pruitt courtside seats for a University of Kentucky basketball game in December that is reserved for boosters who gave the university at least $1 million.
The special access for Mr. Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, also included watching from the players’ entrance as the team streamed onto the court, and posing for a photo with a star player in the locker room area.
But there was more to the game last December than a superfan experience for Mr. Pruitt and his son, who joined him. They sat in seats belonging to Joseph W. Craft III, a billionaire coal executive who has engaged in an aggressive campaign to reverse the Obama administration’s environmental crackdown on the coal industry. Mr. Craft and his wife donated more than $2 million to support President Trump’s candidacy and inauguration.
Pruitt's relationship with Craft apparently extends far beyond pay-for-play regulatory relief. Pruitt and Craft reportedly exchange text messages with each other.
I'm sure they aren't texting about the need to protect the environment.
In related news, Pruitt aide Millan Hupp told congressional investigators that Pruitt asked her to make a special shopping trip for him during government business hours.
An aide to Environmental Protect Agency chief Scott Pruitt has told House investigators that she did personal tasks for him, and was involved in discussions to get him a used mattress from the Trump Hotel.
The account from Pruitt aide Millan Hupp is included in testimony that was released by Democrats on the House oversight committee.