EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced today that his agency was rolling back Obama-era fuel efficiency and emissions standards for automobiles, calling the move another step in President Trump's "regulatory agenda". They also said John Kelly, Trump's chief of staff, delivered a warning to Pruitt about the White House's displeasure. The White House has not yet made a conclusion on the matter.
Amid rumors that Pruitt's job was in jeopardy, Trump phoned the EPA head on Monday to offer him reassurances. If true, a note to the EPA: This is what's called renting a two-bedroom condo.
Several lawmakers called for Pruitt's resignation on Tuesday, including Republican Representatives Carlos Curbelo and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
Walter Shaub, who ran the U.S. Office of Government Ethics until past year, rated EPA's legal justification of Pruitt's living arrangements as "Total Baloney". Marketing American LNG is not under the jurisdiction of the EPA administrator. Last year, Pruitt rented a condominium in Washington from the wife of a prominent lobbyist for $50 a night, to be paid only on the nights he actually stayed in the unit-a wildly under-market rate that I would describe as "felony robbery", except for the fact that an energy company linked to the lobbyist happened to get its massive pipeline-expansion plan approved by Pruitt's EPA around the same time.
The firm also represents OGE Energy Corp., an electricity company serving Oklahoma and Arkansas.
Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R- Florida, weighed in on the controversy tweeting that Pruitt's corruption scandals are an embarrassment and that he should resign or be fired.
This source did not believe the restrictions would pass muster, but rather saw it as a way for Pruitt to carry favor with the President as the administrator faces intense scrutiny for possible ethical violations.
In the letter Whitehouse cites guidance from the Office of Government Ethics that says government employees should consider declining a gift that may not technically violate gift rules if "their integrity or impartiality would be questioned if they were to accept the gift".
On Sunday, the Alabama Democratic senator Doug Jones said he thought Pruitt was "on his way out" while the independent senator Bernie Sanders said the EPA chief should appear before the Senate environment committee. Most people saw Carson's Tablegate saga as a shameless new low in the annals of this White House's perpetual con on the American people. "This discrepancy is further evidence of the need for the EPA Inspector General to conduct an investigation to determine if misconduct or mismanagement led to said OGC decision, and whether the Ethics Office was influenced in any improper manner", Lieu and Beyer wrote in the letter.
The president's call to Pruitt came just days after another Cabinet official, Veterans Affairs head David Shulkin, was dismissed after stirring ethics concerns. And, in August 2017, the EPA re-opened the regulatory docket and asked for additional information and data relevant to assessing whether the GHG emissions standards remain appropriate, including information on consumer behavior, feedback on modeling approaches, and assessing advanced fuels technologies.