The head of he Environmental Protection Agency is under investigation for allegedly lying to the Senate during his confirmation hearing.
Scott Pruitt is being investigated by the Oklahoma Bar Association due to a complaint that he lied under oath when he claimed he’s never used personal email to conduct official business while serving as Oklahoma’s attorney general, which would be a violation of the Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct.
“I use only my official [office of the attorney general] email address and government-issued phone to conduct official business,” Pruitt told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on January 18, but emails released in a lawsuit last month show Pruitt did use a private email address for official business.
On the eve of his confirmation last month, Pruitt was ordered by an Oklahoma judge to turn over thousands of communications between his office and the fossil fuel industry. Before those records were made public, however, Senate Republicans rushed to narrowly confirm Pruitt to lead the EPA. After his confirmation to lead the EPA, it was revealed that Pruitt’s personal email account was used for communication with the American Legislative Exchange Council and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers while he served as Oklahoma’s attorney general.
“Lying to Congress is a serious ethical breach, and it doesn’t help that Pruitt’s use of private emails reflect potential collusion with the very oil and gas industry he’s now supposed to be regulating,”Amy Atwood, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity said in a statement.
When the investigation is finished, it will be turned over to Oklahoma’s Professional Responsibility Commission for review.