Scott Pruitt’s EPA is For Sale

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The Associated Press reported yesterday than one of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt's closest aides has been granted permission to work for private clients while he is still responsible for approving federal grants at the EPA.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A key aide to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has been granted permission to make extra money moonlighting for private clients whose identities are being kept secret.

A letter approving outside employment contracts for John Konkus — signed by an EPA ethics lawyer in August — was released Monday by Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. [...]

Since Konkus arrived in Washington in early 2017, his responsibilities have included reviewing and approving all EPA grants prior to being awarded to help ensure they “adhere to the policies and principles of the current administration,” according to his online resume.

The Washington Post reported in September that Konkus had been scrutinizing grant applications for mentions of climate change, which he reportedly referred to as “the double C-word.”

Speaking of The Washington Post, the paper reported last night that the man hired by Scott Pruitt to sweep his office for cameras and listening devices is a close business associate of the head of Pruitt's ridiculous security detail.

Pasquale “Nino” Perrotta — who heads Pruitt’s security detail and also serves as a principal of Rockville-based Sequoia Security Group — suggested last year to EPA officials that they hire a fellow member of the management team at Sequoia, Edwin Steinmetz, according to an administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal agency decisions. The roughly $3,000 contract to sweep Pruitt’s office for concealed listening devices was conducted by Edwin Steinmetz Associates, the official said.

Meanwhile, the oil and gas lobby, otherwise known as the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), is holding a conference this week at Trump's hotel in D.C. where lobbyists from the organization will be meeting with Scott Pruitt at some during the week.

Oil and gas officials are gathering at the hotel as part of the Independent Petroleum Association of America’s (IPAA) annual “Congressional Call-Up” where the officials get the opportunity to discuss top policy issues with members of Congress and the Trump administration.

This is at least the third energy industry group to select the Trump International Hotel as the site for a conference since Trump’s inauguration in January 2017.

Say what you will about the corruption of Richard Nixon and Donald Trump, but at least Nixon created the EPA. Trump means to destroy it.

  • muselet

    In more normal times, with more normal administrations, regulatory capture happens quietly, under the radar, gradually.

    With the Trump administration, the perpetrators are stomping around, shouting like particularly thick Vogon guards, “Clean air? Clean water? Pristine wilderness? NO! There’s money to be made!”

    Resistance isn’t useless, but it is exhausting.


  • Aynwrong

    All together now… “If Obama….”

  • Badgerite

    There should be nothing ‘secret’ about the EPA. Unless, of course, it is all about the industries that it is supposed to be regulating to ensure public health and safety as well as a clean environment are actually now in total control of the agency so as to nullify the EPA Congressional mandate to regulate them.

  • David Greenberg

    I think the r’s are counting on the fact that it’s hard to stay mad about one particular issue when it is followed so closely on its heels by another. And another and another.