WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement in response to the Center for Media and Democracy’s lawsuit seeking expedited access to Scott Pruitt’s email communications with oil and gas industry officials during his time as Attorney General of Oklahoma.
“It is galling that Mr. Pruitt, the man who supposedly wants to serve as our nation's chief environmental officer, refuses to provide the U.S. Senate and the American public with the documents needed in order to evaluate his ability to lead the EPA. For more than two years now, Mr. Pruitt has hid behind a two-year backlog of his own making, refusing to disclose public information under Oklahoma's Open Records Act. Now, he has the audacity to tell EPW Democrats – nineteen separate times – to go to the back of the line to get the substantive information we need in order to fulfill our Constitutional duty to advise and consent on the President’s nominees. Attorney General Pruitt’s contempt for the Senate and his duty to serve the people of Oklahoma in a transparent, open manner does not bode well for how he would serve the American people as head of the EPA.
“I continue to be disappointed at the pace with which my Republican colleagues in the Senate are attempting to force through this nominee before we have all the pertinent information. The American people expect us to take our responsibility to advise and consent very seriously, and we cannot make good on that promise unless we have comprehensive and thorough information about all cabinet nominees. Since my Republican colleagues won't join our demands for these materials, I'm pleased concerned citizens are taking up the fight.”
Last month, Committee Democrats submitted questions for the record to Mr. Pruitt following his confirmation hearing. In response, Pruitt told Committee Democrats 19 separate times to get the information they were requesting from Mr. Pruitt’s own office, the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office, which has more than a two-year backlog for such requests.