Energy

EPA’s Pruitt Blames ‘Staff’ For Defying White House On Huge Pay Raises

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt blamed his staff for going around the White House to give two agency officials pay raises, conflicting with previous reports he played a role in the decision.

Pruitt told Fox News’ Ed Henry he “found out about it yesterday” and “changed it.” Pruitt said the pay raises “should not have been done” and said he walked them back on Tuesday when he found out.

Henry told The Daily Caller News Foundation that Pruitt would not specify which staffers — career or political appointees — went around the White House. In fact, Pruitt said he didn’t know who did it, adding that whoever did would be held accountable.

Pruitt has come under increased scrutiny from lawmakers, activists and reporters for spending more than $100,000 on first-class air travel, renting a room from the wife of a D.C. lobbyist and, now, authorizing pay increases to political staffers.

The Atlantic reported on Monday that Pruitt used a provision of the Safe Drinking Water Act to increase the pay of two political staffers after White House officials rejected the proposal.

Staffers Sarah Greenwalt and Millan Hupp got their salaries increased from $107,435 to $164,200 and from $86,460 to $114,590, respectively. The White House would usually have to sign off on their pay increases, hence why Pruitt used the Safe Drinking Water Act. Both staffers worked for Pruitt in Oklahoma, but now the administrator is denying any role in the pay raises.

Pruitt told Henry the pay raises didn’t go through because he stopped them. The White House is investigating the matter.

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