WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), continued to raise serious concerns about the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Inspector General (IG) after the Office of Government Ethics refused to certify one of the final financial disclosure reports of former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, citing the EPA OIG’s failure to complete a thorough investigation into the former administrator’s alleged violations of ethics.
“The Office of Government Ethics decision is appropriate and important, but it only underscores why the EPA Office of Inspector General needs to take ethics issues more seriously. OGE has no authority to conduct investigations of misconduct at EPA. When the EPA IG fails to fully investigate ethical violations brought to its attention, it signals there are no consequences for unethical behavior by EPA officials.
“We hope and expect that the Office of Government Ethics will also refuse to certify Pruitt’s termination statement, which noted for the first time that Pruitt received a $50,000 gift for his legal defense fund without first seeking the approval of agency ethics officials,” the senators continued, referring to the gift of $50,000 given to the former administrator by Diane Hendricks.
Investigations requested by Senators Carper and Whitehouse that the EPA OIG terminated before issuing a report include:
- In May 2018, Senators Carper, Whitehouse, and Udall wrote a letter to EPA OIG to request an investigation into potential violations of federal regulations by Pruitt during a real estate search by a top aide.
- In June 2018, Senators Carper, Whitehouse, and Udall wrote a letter to EPA OIG to request an investigation into Pruitt’s use of his official position to pursue family business opportunities.