What will happen to Scott Pruitt’s soundproof booth and tactical pants?
Now that swamp creature Scott Pruitt is oozing his way out of Washington — hopefully on a coach flight — America needs answers about all of the ill-gotten gains the now-former Environmental Protection Agency administrator wasted taxpayer money on.
Pruitt, arguably the most freeloading and corrupt Cabinet member in history — and he had a lot of competition among Donald Trump’s gang of thieves — was finally forced to resign after publicity about his wasteful ways became even too much for Trump.
There was the exorbitant travel, the unneeded 24/7 security detail, for a total cost of $4.6 million; the $50-a-night sweetheart condo deal from a lobbyist’s wife; demands that aides do personal chores such as procure Ritz Carlton Hotel moisturizing lotion, pick up Pruitt’s dry cleaning, get a used mattress from the D.C. Trump hotel (eww), and find a $200,000-a-year job for his wife; and so much more. It turns out there are 18 investigations into Pruitt’s nefarious ways.
Fortune magazine has a comprehensive list of all the Pruitt scandals. Besides those already listed, there was the practice of asking aides to change records of past meetings and the use of secret email accounts to avoid Freedom of Information Act rules. LOCK HIM UP! LOCK HIM UP!
Then there was the nearly $2,800 for tactical pants and tactical polo shirts.
What, you may ask, are tactical pants? Turns out they are military-style trousers with lots of pockets that were presumably worn by Pruitt’s 24/7 security detail so they would look — I don’t know, cool? Tough? Rugged? Or maybe Pruitt just liked the way they fit. Still — $2,800?
The investigations into Pruitt’s malfeasance will continue, even if the Republican House of Representatives apparently isn’t interested in probing Pruitt’s profligate practices. They’re too busy demanding another investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of the State Department and into the Clinton Foundation (I am not making that up).
So Pruitt will slink back to Oklahoma, where no doubt he’ll land a lucrative job with a fossil fuel energy company. Although taxpayers will never recoup the millions that Pruitt wasted, at least he was incompetent enough at his job that he never really understood how to undo environmental regulations set by President Barack Obama. Setting up those kinds of rules and systems within a federal department is painstaking and can take months, if not years.
Pruitt’s successor is Andrew Wheeler, the current No. 2 at the EPA who will serve as acting administrator. Wheeler is a former lobbyist for the coal industry and was on the staff of climate science denier and Republican Sen. James Inhofe (R, Stone Age). But he’s been in Washington long enough that he knows how to rework regulations, and he won’t have the baggage of Pruitt’s ethical scandals. Fossil fuel industry groups are confident that Wheeler will continue Pruitt’s deregulatory policies.
So although Pruitt may be gone, the fight for sane climate science policy continues. Democrats and environmental groups are ready for round two in the Trump administration’s war on the planet.
And for the $43,000 soundproof booth and the tactical pants: Maybe a garage sale?