Report: EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Allegedly Used Two Gov’t Emails As Oklahoma AG

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EPA administrator Scott Pruitt used two government email address during his time as Oklahoma’s attorney general, despite telling Congress he only used one public email account, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

Pruitt used two addresses — and – during his time as AG, according to emails obtained in February by Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), a liberal watchdog group associated with billionaire financier George Soros. WaPo uncovered the discrepancy in the documents.

CMD’s records appear to show Pruitt’s name associated with both accounts, the latter of which is the EPA head’s initials, E.S.P., or Edward Scott Pruitt. The Republican is scheduled to testify Thursday about the EPA’s proposed budget, and his email use could potentially come up during his testimony.

The 7,564 pages of emails recovered come after a bitter battle in Congress over whether Pruitt should lead Trump’s EPA. He eventually won confirmation 52-46 in February despite fierce Democratic opposition.

Oklahoma’s attorney general office was unsure about the email discrepancies. Terri Watkins, communications director for the office, confirmed to reporters the existence of both accounts, while maintaining that she did not know why they were created.

“At his confirmation hearing and in a subsequent letter to the EPW Committee sent on May 5, Administrator Pruitt said that he has state-provided email accounts, which are government email addresses that are recoverable, public and transparent,” EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said in a press statement about Pruitt’s email use.

Pruitt did indicate in February that he used two email address during his time as AG – one private and another public.

“I have used two e-mail addresses since becoming Attorney General of Oklahoma,” Pruitt told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee at his confirmation hearings.

“I use a personal e-mail address for personal e-mail, and an official e-mail address for official business,” he said.

Pruitt’s staff used the “ESP” account to give the former AG talking points, according to WaPo’s report. A staffer sent Pruitt comments in 2016 for an upcoming radio interview in defense of congressional Republicans’ refusal to fill Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court.

The watchdog group reported in February that Pruitt’s office communicated on several occasions with fossil fuel companies like Devon Energy. CMD sued to have the emails released after it claimed the Oklahoma Republican stonewalled information requests for two years. A judge eventually allowed the group access to the AG’s correspondence.

Emails dating back to 2013 show that various groups reached out to thank Pruitt’s office for engaging in legal fisticuffs with former President Barack Obama’s environmental agenda.

Former EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, who served during the Bush administration and considers herself an opponent of President Donald Trump and his agenda, dismissed concerns about Pruitt’s connections with fossil fuel groups.

“Well, frankly, he came from an oil and gas state, and you would expect that kind of an interchange between he and the constituents in that state. And he was an elected representative of those constituents,” she said shortly after CMD released the emails. “So that in-it-of itself isn’t unusual.”

WaPo’s report is based on emails CMD obtained through open records requests. The watchdog group, for its part, counts the Rockefeller Family Foundation and Soros’s Open Society Foundations among its donors. It has also received more than $160,000 in 2011 for research purposes from progressive financier, Tides Foundation.

The fund also acknowledged on its website that it accepted donations from the Rockefeller Family Foundation (RFF), which has worked for months backing attorney general-led efforts to investigate Exxon Mobil’s climate research.

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