Rhode Island U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse has joined the effort to get Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt possibly disbarred because of an investigation by the Oklahoma Bar Association.
Whitehouse, a Democrat who has targeted the former State Attorney General in numerous allegations and requests since Pruitt took office, wrote a letter to the Bar Association this week. He is also a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee which held confirmation hearings for Pruitt. It was an 8-page complaint accompanied by more than 60 pages of supporting documents in which Whitehouse accused Pruitt of “his ongoing failure to respond completely and truthfully to the Committee requests for him to set the record straight.”
“His misleading answers, evasiveness, and stonewalling initially stymied our Committee’s ability to adequately discharge our advice and consent responsibilities and presently stymie its ability to conduct effective oversight of Mr. Pruitt and EPA,” wrote the Senator.
The Bar Association’s probing a complaint initially filed in March by the Center for Biological Diversity and University of Oklahoma law professor Kristen van de Biezenbos. It was alleged Pruitt have inconsistent and contradictory statements to the EPW committee about his email use.
“I have had a front-row seat for Mr. Pruitt’s misleading testimony and his ongoing failure to respond completely and truthfully to Committee requests for him to set the record straight. This conduct is unbecoming of an attorney who is also a public official and who under law is required to testify truthfully to Congress.”
In an interview with HuffPost, Sen. Whitehouse was even more blunt.
“He misstated the facts over and over again. This was a case of repeat prevarications, not just an inadvertent slip.”
Much of the focus on the allegations against Pruitt pertains to his email addresses used in communicating with energy companies. One was his state agency’s address of “firstname.lastname@example.org” and the other was “email@example.com.” The “esp” stood for his full name of Edward Scott Pruitt.
As for the Bar Association’s probe, it could be months before anything is decided. It is also a routine practice for the Association not to comment publicly about such investigations.