When embattled Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Chief Scott Pruitt faced a grilling at the hands of Fox News’ Ed Henry over the large pay raises he sought for to two employees — who happened to be old friends — he denied any knowledge of it.
“If you’re committed to the Trump agenda, why did you go around the president and the White House to give pay raises to two staffers?” Henry asked last week.
“I did not,” Pruitt responded. “My staff did. I found out about that yesterday and I changed it.”
“You don’t know who did this?” Henry pressed.
“I found out about this yesterday and I corrected the action,” Pruitt said.
Well, according to new reporting from The Atlantic, an email suggests Pruitt “personally signed off” on one of the pay raises.
The Atlantic reported an email chain in which Sarah Greenwalt, one of the staffers, tried to confirm with HR her pay raise of $56,765.
Per the report:
Greenwalt “definitively stated that Pruitt approves and was supportive of her getting a raise,” according to an administration official who has seen the email chain.
A second administration official confirmed the exchange. The email “essentially says, ‘The administrator said that I should get this raise,’” the official told me. Both spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the private correspondence.
Now, as the EPA’s Inspector General probes the agency’s hiring practices, administration officials told the Atlantic they were stunned by Pruitt apparently lying about his knowledge of the raises in his Fox News interview.
“My jaw dropped when he said that,” one administration official reportedly said.
Some background from the Atlantic:
In early March, as first reported by The Atlantic, Pruitt requested hefty salary bumps for Greenwalt and his director of scheduling, Millan Hupp. When the White House refused to sign off on the raises—$56,765 and $28,130, respectively–Pruitt used an obscure hiring authority under the Safe Drinking Water Act to grant them anyway.
The pay raise controversy is just one thread in the rich tapestry of Pruitt’s scandals, which range from him demanding security accompany him to Disneyland to getting a cheap rent deal on a condo courtesy of a lobbyist.
[image via screengrab]
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