Dark money part of Pruitt’s legacy at EPA

Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting at the White House, Thursday, June 21, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

 

 

POLITICO, the D-C based political news website reports that the dark-money group supporting the confirmation of former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt was able to raise nearly a half-million dollars from one oil company and other donors who did not have to identify themselves.

POLITICO reported it as the “scandal-plagued former EPA administrator” and said its story was based on documents that it obtained. Pruitt is the former Oklahoma Attorney General who made the leap to become a member of President Donald Trump’s cabinet.

The name of the dark money group is Protecting American Now which is incorporated in Delaware. It filed the corporation papers one day after President Trump named Pruitt as his nominee to run the EPA. But the nonprofit is finally revealing some basic information about itself.

POLITICO reported that critics contend the group’s efforts to lobby for Pruitt, after raising money from  companies the EPA regulates, is an example of the problem1s associated with a lack of public disclosure required by the 501(c)(4) groups.

“It raises a question of, is this nonprofit a shell that’s using tax-exempt status as a shield for donors to engage in political spending?” said Robert Maguire, research director for the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in

 

The largest single contribution to Protecting America Now came via Pioneer Natural Resources, a Texas-based oil and gas company, which voluntarily disclosed that it contributed $100,000. But the group’s remaining donors remain secret — its 2017 tax return shows it raised $459,500 for its mission to help Pruitt get confirmed but provides little detail on its spending.

A few weeks after he was confirmed, Pruitt halted work on a methane rule that Pioneer had identified as a threat to its business, although it’s unclear whether the company’s support influenced that decision.

 

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