Democratic Reps. Don Beyer and Ted Lieu have requested an inspector general’s report on Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt after claims Pruitt intentionally scrubbed from his official calendar controversial meetings with leaders of industries his agency is supposed to regulate.
If Pruitt did hold such meetings, he may have violated the Federal Records Act, the congressmen wrote.
“Congress established and updated these laws because the American people deserve to know how their government is operated, and who is exerting influence over determinations which affect them,” Lieu and Beyer wrote to the EPA IG.
On April 26 last year, Pruitt’s public calendar shows that his final meeting of the day was with Australia’s environmental minister. But his internal calendar shows that he had dinner with coal executive Joseph Craft at BLT Prime inside the Trump International Hotel, CNN reported.
That dinner is one of dozens of other incidents and meetings that have not been put into the public record, Kevin Chmielewski, Pruitt’s former deputy chief of staff for operations, told CNN.
Pruitt is already under IG investigation for possible ethics violations over his below-market lease of a condo from an energy industry lobbyist in D.C.
Lieu and Beyer spearheaded the request for that investigation as well.
The California and Virginia Democrats are now focused on the new reports that Pruitt has at one point had as many as three different calendars: one for the public, one for internal use in the agency, and another that only three or four top officials see.
“Numerous meetings that have been mentioned in news reports — and in some cases even confirmed by EPA spokespeople — do not appear on Pruitt’s officially-released schedule,” Beyer and Lieu wrote. “Omitted meetings include meetings with an energy lobbyist, the CEOs of a shipping company and a coal company, and [Cardinal George Pell], who was subsequently charged with criminal sexual offenses.”
Pruitt’s office has denied the allegations.
“Despite continued false accusations there are no secret calendars or schedules. EPA has released the meetings and events Administrator Pruitt has attended — which the media has already reported as meetings with industry — and to report anything else would be categorically false,” an EPA spokesperson said in a statement.