An Oklahoma County Court judge has found Attorney General and EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt in violation of the state’s Open Records Act.
Judge Aletia Haynes Timmons ordered the Attorney General’s office to release more than 2,500 emails by Tuesday, February 21. The emails are the subject of a records request and subsequent lawsuit filed by the Center for Media and Democracy. Pruitt’s office has ten days to provide the emails and other documents that were withheld from the CMD’s initial records request from January 2015 and five additional open records requests between November 2015 and August 2016.
An expedited hearing was granted on Thursday regarding the outstanding documents. The CMD is represented by attorney Bob Nelon of the Hall Estill law firm.
Pruitt’s office responded to the oldest of CMD’s nine outstanding Open Records Act requests last week on February 10 but provided just 411 of the more than 3,000 emails they had located, according to a CMD report. The AG’s office withheld thousands of relevant emails and failed to respond to CMD’s eight other outstanding requests. On February 14, the CMD filed a status report with the judge detailing the missing data, including 27 emails that were previously turned over to The New York Times in 2014.
“Scott Pruitt broke the law and went to great lengths to avoid the questions many Americans have about his true motivations,” said Nick Surgey, Director of Research for the CMD. “Despite Pruitt’s efforts to repeatedly obfuscate and withhold public documents, we’re all wiser to his ways and the interests he really serves. The work doesn’t stop here to make sure communities across the country have the information they need to hold him accountable to the health and safety of our families.”
After Democratic Senators twice boycotted the Environment and Public Works Committee vote due to concerns over Pruitt’s conflicts of interests and failure to fulfill open records requests, Republicans resorted to suspending Committee rules to advance his nomination.
Pruitt is expected to face a full Senate confirmation vote on Friday, February 17 for his EPA nomination.