Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has come under fire in recent days for hefty pay raises two staffers received in particular. The pay raises are questionable not only because of the amount but because of the recipients.
According to a report by The Atlantic, the situation goes something like this: Pruitt requests salary bumps, the White House denies him, and he does it anyway using:
“…Obscure hiring authority under the Safe Drinking Act.”
“The provision, which allows the EPA’s administrator to appoint up to 30 staffers without White House or congressional approval, was intended to help the agency bring on experts and staff up especially-stressed offices. Greenwalt and Hupp’s raises went into effect on April 1, according to HR documents obtained by The Atlantic.”
To be clear, Pruitt used funds meant for the efficient running of the EPA and relieving stressed-out staffers by hiring others to instead offer pay raises of $56,765 and $28,130 to two senior staffers.
The action has since triggered an investigation into whether or not the move was an abuse of the power on Pruitt’s part.
In a recent interview with Fox News, Pruitt explicitly denied knowing about the raises and claimed that it was his staff who handled those matters.
However, according to sources from inside the agency, emails from Sarah Greenwalt directly contradict Pruitt’s claims that he didn’t know about the pay raises.
“In mid-March, Sarah Greenwalt, senior counsel to the administrator, wrote to HR in an attempt to confirm that her pay raise of $56,765 was being processed. 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.”
Despite the growing problems with his tenure, definite incompetence, and possible malfeasance, Pruitt has managed to hang on to President Trump’s support, who defended him, saying:
“I think Scott has done a fantastic job. I think he’s a fantastic person.”
Image provided via YouTube Screenshot.