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Ex-Aides: Pruitt Ordered EPA to Deliberately Slow Compliance with FOIA Requests

EWG: What Else Is He Hiding?
Contact: 
(202) 667-6982
For Immediate Release: 
Monday, June 11, 2018

WASHINGTON –  Under fire from revelations about his conflicts of interest and abuses of office, Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt has reportedly instructed his staff to go slow on complying with Freedom of Information Act requests. Given the myriad of scandals that have come to light about Pruitt, it’s scary to think what else he may be trying to hide, said Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook.

Two of Pruitt’s former aides told the House Oversight Committee that their boss told the agency’s staff not to comply with any FOIAs targeting the Trump administration until all the backlogged requests from the Obama administration have been finished. FOIA rules require that federal agencies respond to FOIA requests within 20 days, although releasing requested documents may take longer.

“From his $43,000 secure phone booth to his failure to keep records of decision-making, Scott Pruitt has taken astonishing steps to shield his activities from the public,” Cook said. “Meddling with the long-established FOIA process is the latest indication he clearly has a lot to hide.”

“Who can blame Pruitt for taking steps to keep the public in the dark?” Cook asked. “Every time the EPA releases documents through a FOIA request, more revelations come to light showing he’s not only the worst EPA administrator in history, but also the most corrupt cabinet secretary in modern times.”

On Monday, Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House oversight panel, sent a letter to Pruitt expressing serious concerns over his efforts to obstruct and delay the regular flow of information through public records requests.

“Combined with your refusal to produce documents requested by Congress, your actions in delaying records under FOIA raise concerns about a fundamental lack of transparency at EPA,” Cummings wrote.

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Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore via Flickr.com

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