A government watchdog group cleared former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt from wrong-doing after appearing in a video that Democrats claimed violated anti-lobbying laws.
Pruitt did not violate any laws against government officials engaging in propaganda when he appeared in a National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NBCA) video in 2017, according to a report Wednesday from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The group decided the former attorney general’s appearance in the video was not partisan and covert and therefore not propaganda.
“EPA’s use of its appropriations for the then-Administrator’s interview and appearance in an NCBA video did not violate the publicity or propaganda, grassroots lobbying, or Interior anti-lobbying provisions,” the GAO report read. “Because the then-Administrator’s appearance in the video did not constitute a communication that was self-aggrandizing, purely partisan, or covert, EPA did not violate the publicity or propaganda prohibition.”
The cattlemen’s association published a video online in August featuring Pruitt encouraging farmers to file comments and contact elected officials about proposed changes to the “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule put in place by the Obama administration in 2015. (RELATED: Scott Pruitt Has A Plan To Replace Obama’s Climate Regulations For Coal Plants)
The video ends with a link to the cattlemen group’s website with a message “to file your WOTUS comments today!” Democrats believe GAO’s findings will mirror a report issued against the Obama administration’s efforts to promote their WOTUS rule.
Pruitt resigned in July amid numerous controversies. Democrats criticized him for flying first class, beefing up his security detail and renting a room in a condo owned by the wife of a prominent D.C. lobbyist. Some conservative pundits even joined activists in calling for Pruitt to resign.
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