At a hearing Wednesday morning with embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) announced that he has asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to launch yet another probe into the agency’s actions — this time scrutinizing its Twitter practices.
“I’m announcing this morning that I just requested a new GAO investigation, this one to determine if EPA violated the appropriations law banning taxpayer spending on publicity and propaganda by engaging in political speech via social media,” Udall said.
Below is the tweet in question, which Udall said is also under investigation by Office of Special Counsel.
The Senate does its duty: Andrew Wheeler confirmed by Senate as deputy administrator of @EPA. The Democrats couldn't block the confirmation of environmental policy expert and former EPA staffer under both a Republican and a Democrat president. https://t.co/FpkjOUtmnJ
— U.S. EPA (@EPA) April 13, 2018
“I was unaware of the tweet, and it should have not have occurred,” Pruitt told senators on Wednesday.
But asked repeatedly by Udall if he apologizes for the tweet, Pruitt declined to do so.
Udall’s first request for a GAO probe into Pruitt’s tenure at the agency revealed this month that his purchase of a $43,000 soundproof booth for his office without first informing Congress violated federal law.
Listing that and more than a dozen other federal investigations into Pruitt’s actions, including his first class flights, his unprecedented around-the-clock security team and allegations he retaliated against staff members, Udall excoriated Pruitt, saying, “Your tenure at the EPA has been a betrayal of the American people.”
Pruitt replied that “some of the criticism is unfounded and exaggerated.”
Read Udall’s letter: