FILE PHOTO: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator (EPA) Scott Pruitt testifies before a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in...
Aaron Bernstein

Scott Pruitt’s scandals push him toward ‘the tipping point’

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt may be the most scandal-plagued cabinet official of his generation. Americans simply aren’t accustomed to seeing a federal official – facing 15 separate investigations – accused of so much corruption.

But just as amazing is how much worse the story surrounding the Oklahoma Republican keeps getting. The Washington Post  reported this week on Pruitt’s top aides providing stunning new details to congressional investigators about his “willingness to leverage his position for his personal benefit and to ignore warnings even from allies about potential ethical issues.”

Among the many revelations in the piece was evidence of Pruitt using his position to “push to find a six-figure job for his wife at a politically connected group, enlist staffers in performing personal tasks and seek high-end travel despite aides’ objections.”

This came the same week as reports about the EPA chief’s behind-the-scenes rapport with polluters Pruitt is supposed to be regulating, and reports that Pruitt maintained a secret calendar that hid events that might make him look bad. Meanwhile, Politico  reported that Pruitt “placed a former political fundraising ally in charge of an office that has been slow to release his most sensitive documents.”

How much longer must this continue? CNN reported yesterday that the administrator may be in trouble.

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, facing additional reporting about his many controversies, is “inching forward to the tipping point,” a senior administration official said.

The official, describing the feeling within the administration towards Pruitt, wondered whether the EPA administrator would still hold his job as he could crop up in Democratic candidates’ ads hitting President Donald Trump’s “swamp.”

It’s hard to find this reassuring – because if Pruitt is just now “inching forward to the tipping point,” it means Trump World still hasn’t seen enough to send this guy packing.

For most observers, the “tipping point” for the EPA chief was quite a few scandals ago. The public has already been made aware of Pruitt’s abuses, misuses of public resources, and brazen efforts to use his position to enrich his family.

But in this administration, that’s apparently insufficient. In fact, Pruitt apparently hasn’t even reached the tipping just yet; he’s just “inching forward” to that point.

I’ve seen some suggestions that Pruitt is now on thin ice, but given the available information, it appears that’s the only ice on the planet that’s melting too slowly.