New publicly released emails show Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt may have mislead a Senate Appropriations subcommittee last month when he said that he had an aide, who is a “longtime friend,” help him find an apartment for him and his wife during her “personal time.”
Emails attached to a letter that three Senate Democrats sent to the EPA inspector general show that EPA director of scheduling Millan Hupp — whom Pruitt also improperly gave a massive raise — messaged with a real estate agent during work hours and through her EPA email address. Hupp was introduced to the agent, John Walker of Keller Williams Realty, in July by EPA political appointee Elizabeth Bennett, who told Hupp she would “LOVE working with John” because “he knows everything about Capitol Hill-including both living on it as well as working there.”
The Washington Post first reported on Pruitt using an aide to help him find housing in April. When questioned about the topic at the Senate subcommittee hearing last month Pruitt told lawmakers “it’s my understanding that all activity there was on personal time.”
In a letter to EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins on Thursday, Sens. Tom Udall (D-NM), Thomas Carper (D-DE) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) asked Elkins to probe whether Pruitt had received an improper gift from Hupp, claiming Pruitt didn’t compensate her for the work and she used official business time to do it.
“There are several regulations designed to prevent the misuse of taxpayer funds and to prevent a supervisor from misusing the time of or accepting an improper gift from a subordinate employee, whose salary is paid by American taxpayers,” the senators said. “Each of these regulations may have been violated by Mr. Pruitt or Ms. Hupp if the information obtained by our offices is correct.”
Read the full letter below: