Right Opinion

Scandals and Scott Pruitt

Cornwall Alliance · Jul. 17, 2018

By William Anderson

With EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s recent resignation, the scandal talk heats up again. According to CNN and the leftist Vox site, Pruitt had engaged in a number of scandalous activities. Even the conservative National Review had demanded Pruitt’s resignation before the publication permitted a guest column by a Pruitt associate that raised questions about whether or not he had engaged in disreputable behavior at all.

For example, The Washington Post reported that Pruitt used his executive position “to try to get his wife a $200,000 a year job.” As Cleta Mitchell noted in the NR article, however, the Post did not tell the whole story:

Two weeks ago, the Washington Post breathlessly reported that Scott Pruitt had instructed his EPA staff to find his wife a job. Juicy, if true. Unfortunately, that’s not the whole story. While some EPA staff members may have taken it upon themselves to get involved in her job search, I was the person who was working with Marlyn Pruitt on a regular basis to help her find work that would suit her skills and would not violate government ethics rules. As a lawyer who deals with executive and congressional ethics regulations, I was and am well aware of the requirements. We were mindful at all times of the need to ensure that any work she undertook was within the ethics rules, and it absolutely has been.

Mitchell also points out that Pruitt’s well-publicized flying in first class was not necessarily due to the EPA administrator’s love of luxury:

We’re told he flew first class at a high cost to taxpayers. But he did so amid well-documented security concerns. The viciousness of the death threats against Pruitt are real, and his security detail has provided to Congress its review of the threats against him and their conclusion that security for this Trump official was not going to be easy. Or cheap.

Then there were the allegations that Pruitt had “scrubbed” some of his controversial meetings from his schedule, which CNN is claiming to be possible criminal behavior. (Interestingly, Lisa Jackson, Barack Obama’s first EPA chief, kept illegal email accounts under assumed names, which actually is a federal crime. For that matter, Hillary Clinton used illegal email addresses while secretary of state and her underlings smashed their phones with hammers before investigators could see them, such behavior being illegal — and conveniently overlooked by FBI agents who clearly were in the tank for Clinton.)

So why did Pruitt receive scrutiny that his Democrat predecessors had not? Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review, in a piece critical of Pruitt, writes:

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt had enemies who were out to get him because he is a Republican, a conservative, a high-ranking member of the Trump administration, and an environmental deregulator.

Such a state of affairs, Ponnuru notes, should have made Pruitt more careful with ethical choices. That being said, however, there is a larger issue that begs discussion — the issue of narratives and how the American media plays them.

The issue of “ethics” in Washington often falls into the category of what Jesus called “straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.” Had Pruitt been a gung-ho, get-rid-of-oil-and-gas regulator and regularly denounced energy companies and presented plans to cripple the U.S. energy industry in the name of saving the planet from climate change, no one at The New York Times would have cared if he flew first class on commercial flights or even leased a private jet. As noted earlier, regarding his wife’s job search, Pruitt and his allies sought to stay within ethical boundaries, but because Pruitt is a critic of the standard environmental narrative that oil and gas are destroying the world and must be left in the ground at all costs, anything he would do or say would be twisted into an attack on humanity itself.

Pruitt’s “crime” was not doing what other Washington figures often do — find lucrative positions for their spouses or engage in questionable spending (which often is not all that questionable after the facts are in). No, his real “crime” was not governing by the mantra that energy companies are releasing satanic gases that are overwhelming the planet and are leading to catastrophic results — and they are right around the corner. That numerous apocalyptic predictions made by environmentalists like Paul Ehrlich have not come true apparently led no one in Washington to give pause to the latest claims from the usual sources.

With Pruitt’s departure, score one more for the Swamp. Scott Pruitt had something important to say, but the powers that be didn’t want to listen, and it is a loss for America.

Republished from the Cornwall Alliance.

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