Scott Pruitt has only been the head of the Environmental Protection Agency for a year, but he has been very, very busy. Unfortunately, if you’ve been following the news cycle, you know he’s been busy causing controversies. Pruitt’s work at the EPA, his budgetary excesses, his clashes with staff, and even his personal cleanliness have all been a focus of the tumultuous news cycle. Since it seems like, every day, the steady drip-drip won’t stop, here’s a brief chronology of Pruitt’s scandals and embarrassments, which seem to leave him in danger of being ousted.
May 15th, 2017: One of Pruitt’s first decisions, reversing a ban on the pesticide chlorpyrifos, comes under scrutiny when a shift in wind sickens farm workers. In July, it will be revealed Pruitt met with the head of Dow Chemical, which makes chlorpyrifos, despite denials he consulted with any personnel from Dow, and spoke with lobbyists on the topic.
July 24th, 2017: In the wake of former Health Department head Tom Price being fired for using taxpayer money to rent private jets, Pruitt’s travel records show he was making what appeared to be personal trips to Oklahoma and attempting to be reimbursed for them.
September 28th, 2017: One of Pruitt’s more embarrassing days unfolds today, as a bunch of newspaper articles drop about his expenditures. Pruitt’s flight demands alone are found to have cost $58,000 more than absolutely necessary. The Washington Post reveals that Pruitt has a vast personal security detail, triple what any previous EPA administrator, and it may be compromising the EPA enforcement functions, as agents who normally investigate EPA violations are instead protecting Pruitt.
Pruitt also is reported to have completely locked down the floor his office is on, and staffers allege they’re not allowed to bring cell phones or take notes when meeting with Pruitt. It’s also revealed that the EPA has spent at least $25,000 on a “cone of silence” to prevent eavesdropping. In March, it’s uncovered that he really spent $43,000.
December 16th, 2017: Pruitt hires a public relations firm for $120,000 to, among other things, find EPA employees critical of his leadership and behavior. The firm, it’s later alleged, lied on its application for Pruitt’s business.