Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representative Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), and a group of 170 members of Congress in introducing companion resolutions in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives formally calling on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt to resign. The resolution comes in response to Pruitt’s repeated ethics violations, misuse of taxpayer dollars, and actions that fundamentally undermine the mission of the EPA – favoring big polluters at the expense of science, our environment, and the health of children and families.
A total of 39 senators and 131 representatives joined Udall and Castor in introducing the resolution seeking Pruitt’s ouster. The 39 cosponsoring senators represent the highest number of senators in U.S. history to sign on to a resolution formally calling for a cabinet official’s resignation. The full text of the resolution can be found HERE. The full list of Senate cosponsors can be found HERE and the full list of House cosponsors can be found HERE.
“Wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars on a secure phone booth, first-class travel, and unnecessary staff overtime was not what the American people had in mind when President Trump said he’d ‘drain the swamp’,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “The recent revelations of Administrator Pruitt’s mismanagement of taxpayer dollars and his disregard for ethical boundaries by accepting sweetheart living accommodations from energy lobbyists are unacceptable. We are seeing a troubling pattern of senior Trump Administration officials wasting taxpayer money. Administrator Pruitt’s actions are particularly disturbing. Our most fundamental responsibility as public servants is to use tax dollars prudently and efficiently. Administrator Pruitt has failed to do that, failed to provide an adequate rationale for his actions, and must resign.”
“This historic resolution sends an unequivocal message to the administration: the American public has lost faith in Scott Pruitt, and it’s time for him to go,” Senator Udall said. “During his time in office, Pruitt has waged all-out war on the bedrock protections that keep our air and water clean, prevent toxic chemicals from contaminating our communities, and safeguard the health of our kids and families. He has done lasting damage to public health and safety – gutting the EPA’s core mission – all to benefit his campaign donors and grease the wheels for his big polluter friends. And at the same time, Pruitt has completely violated the trust of the American people and the standards of his office, with a list of ethical transgressions that grows longer by the day. Pruitt is administrator of the EPA, but he’s behaving like the emperor of the swamp. His imperial tenure needs to end.”
The resolution follows numerous revelations about Pruitt’s ethical violations, widespread conflicts of interest, and repeated misuse of taxpayer dollars for his personal benefit, including:
- The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office determined that the EPA violated federal law by purchasing a $43,000 phone booth for Pruitt’s office – and then hiding that purchase from Congress.
- Pruitt entered into a sweetheart housing deal to rent a Capitol Hill condo from the wife of a lobbyist – paying just $50 a night, and only paying for the nights he slept there.
- Pruitt has racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in bills for luxury travel perks, including booking lavish first class and charter flights to Europe and elsewhere, staying in luxury hotels, and traveling with a huge entourage of staff and security.
- Pruitt has reportedly reassigned or demoted EPA staffers who questioned his spending habits – at the same time that the EPA Inspector General is investigating him for giving unusual pay raises to favored aides.
- Pruitt has deployed EPA enforcement officers to provide round-the-clock security with questionable justification.
As the lawmakers noted in the resolution, in addition to flouting the ethical standards of his office, Pruitt has done untold damage to the EPA and carried out a long list of actions to benefit his polluter friends – at the expense of the health, safety, and livelihood of American families, including:
- Under Pruitt, the EPA is hemorrhaging staff and experts needed to protect the health and safety of the environment and the American people.
- Pruitt has repeatedly overridden the recommendations of EPA scientists in order to provide relief to industry, like when he reversed the recommendation of his agency’s scientists to ban the use of the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos, which has been linked to brain damage in children.
- Pruitt has delayed the effective date of regulations, eased enforcement of existing regulations, and delayed the implementation of new regulations that are essential to protect public health and combat pollution.
- Pruitt has failed to exercise the enforcement authorities and duties of the EPA, which are needed to investigate and deter pollution violations.
- Pruitt has undermined the science at every turn, purging advisory committees of independent scientists and replacing them with mouthpieces for industry.