Political News

WaPo: Pruitt enlisted EPA aide, donors to find his wife a job

Posted June 13, 2018 8:44 a.m. EDT

— Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt used one of his aides to ask his big money donors for assistance in finding his wife a job, The Washington Post reports.

The Post, citing multiple individuals familiar with the matter, said the EPA aide, Samantha Dravis, contacted Doug Deason, a prominent Republican donor with ties to the oil industry, for a job for Marlyn Pruitt in 2017.

When Deason said he couldn't hire her because of the conflict of interest over the oil holdings, "he agreed to brainstorm other possibilities for her" with Dravis, who has since left the EPA, and Pruitt's outside counsel, Cleta Mitchell, he told the Post.

Marlyn Pruitt landed a job last year at the Judicial Crisis Network after her resume was received by Leonard Leo, executive vice president of the Federalist Society, which the Post said has financial ties to the JCN. A spokesman for JCN confirmed to the paper that Marlyn Pruitt was hired as a contractor via Leo and left the organization earlier this year.

The spokesman told the Post that her work was related to setting up new offices for the group as an independent contractor. However, the spokesman did not disclose to the paper the time she worked there or what she was paid.

The JCN has donated millions of dollars to political organizations associated with Pruitt since 2013, the Post reported.

CNN has reported that Leo, a longtime friend of Pruitt's, was involved in arranging aspects of Pruitt's first-class trip to Italy last year -- one of many of the administrator's trips under scrutiny by officials in Washington.

It was previously reported that Pruitt also enlisted the help of an aide to inquire about assisting his wife in securing a Chick-fil-A franchise, though an application was never completed.

The Post notes that "federal ethics laws bar public officials from using their position or staff for private gain."

The revelation of this most recent potential conflict of interest comes as the administrator faces multiple probes into his actions at the EPA.

Probes include reviews of his travel expenses, personal security and other allegations of ethical concerns, such as Pruitt's below-market-rate lease with a lobbyist couple, one of whom represented a client before the EPA.