EWG: Scott Pruitt Should be ‘Under Oath Before Breakfast’
WASHINGTON – Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt will testify Wednesday before a Senate appropriations subcommittee. It will be his fourth time before a congressional committee this year.
During his previous appearances in front of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Jan. 30, and before the House Energy and Commerce Committee and a House appropriations subcommittee on April 26, Pruitt was not under oath. Several Democratic members of the House environment panel requested Pruitt testify under oath, but the chairman of the committee refused to do so.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, could require Pruitt to take the oath before his testimony in front of her committee Wednesday morning.
Since his testimony on April 26, solid evidence Pruitt may have lied when he told lawmakers that no EPA employees faced retaliation for questioning his lavish spending on premium travel has come to light.
During an interview with ABC News, Kevin Chmielewski, Pruitt’s former deputy chief of staff, said the administrator’s assertion was a “bold-faced” lie.
According to Chmielewski, he was placed on administrative leave after repeatedly raising concerns about the mounting price tag of Pruitt’s travel expenses. Chmielewski told ABC that his boss, EPA Chief of Staff Ryan Jackson, told him: “Administrator Pruitt either wants me to fire you or put you in an office so that he doesn't have to see you again.”
“Scott Pruitt’s record of misleading statements, half-truths and outright lies mean he should be put under oath every morning before breakfast, and certainly before he testifies in front of Congress,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “The possibility of committing perjury could make even Pruitt think twice before giving false statements to Congress again.”
During the April 26 hearing, Pruitt admitted he authorized large pay raises for two close aides, even though he denied knowing anything about them during a Fox News interview weeks earlier.
Lying to Congress while under oath is considered perjury under federal law, and carries a fine and possible prison term for those found guilty.
Photo courtesy of AP Images