As Mr. Pruitt begins his testimony earlier than the primary of two House committees, together with his political future showing to hold by a thread, listed here are key factors to remember.
At 10 a.m. Eastern time, the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on the Environment started questioning Mr. Pruitt, live streaming here. At 2 p.m. the House Appropriations subcommittee on the Interior and E.P.A. will live stream its session with Mr. Pruitt here.
The congressional committees didn’t summon Mr. Pruitt with the precise intent of questioning him on his alleged misconduct. Rather, each occasions are routine funds hearings, held by the House panels with oversight over the E.P.A.’s spending and coverage priorities.
But since so most of the allegations surrounding Mr. Pruitt must do together with his expenditures of company cash, an concern that has raised hackles in each events, lawmakers are anticipated to query him aggressively on that spending and the alleged waste and moral missteps related to it.
The alleged infractions
Reports of moral lapses and lavish spending have amassed in current weeks. Here is a primer on the 10 investigations into Mr. Pruitt’s actions, and a graphic that breaks down the categories of infractions.
The Government Accountability Office, a watchdog company, concluded final week that Mr. Pruitt broke the law with a purchase of a $43,000 secure telephone booth for his workplace. Meanwhile, Mr. Pruitt continues to be below hearth for in depth first-class journey, together with two weeks of journey in June for the administrator and his aides that value taxpayers greater than $120,000, and for spending as much as $three million on safety in his first 12 months in workplace.
Separately, Mr. Pruitt is below scrutiny for a renting a condo from the wife of a lobbyist who had enterprise earlier than the E.P.A. In addition, Mr. Pruitt seems to have used unorthodox measures, and bypassed White House approval, to offer substantial raises to favored political appointees.
Meanwhile, workers members who questioned these actions have been sidelined or demoted.
Mr. Pruitt knew that he would almost definitely come below hearth, presumably for hours at a time. According to a talking points memo reviewed by The New York Times, his technique seems to be to put the blame for his actions on his workers.
Based on the memo, Mr. Pruitt is anticipated to say that he now flies coach when touring; that others have been answerable for giving two shut aides who used to work for him in Oklahoma substantial pay raises; and that E.P.A. officers who have been reassigned or demoted after difficult his spending all had efficiency points.
Shifting Republican views
Upon taking workplace final 12 months, Mr. Pruitt was hailed by Republicans as Mr. Trump’s “deregulation czar,” as he moved to strip away one environmental regulation after one other. Even as questions on his spending on flights and safety started to mount early this 12 months, many conservative Republicans stood by him.
But in current days that assist has waned. In maybe probably the most ominous indicators for Mr. Pruitt, this week his longtime political patron and fellow Oklahoman, Senator James Inhofe, referred to as for additional investigations into the alleged infractions of his protégé. Republicans’ willingness to take off the child gloves when aggressively questioning one in every of their former favorites may sign that Mr. Pruitt has misplaced assist in almost each quarter in Washington.
The White House response
It is Mr. Trump’s opinion of the E.P.A. administrator that issues most on the finish of the day, and his Twitter account might supply perception into Mr. Pruitt’s destiny. Two weeks in the past, Mr. Trump tweeted his assist of Mr. Pruitt, writing: “While Security spending was somewhat more than his predecessor, Scott Pruitt has received death threats because of his bold actions at EPA. Record clean Air & Water while saving USA Billions of Dollars. Rent was about market rate, travel expenses OK. Scott is doing a great job!”
On Wednesday, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the president’s press secretary, stated a White House evaluation of Mr. Pruitt’s ethics points was “ongoing” however supplied no particulars. “We’re evaluating these concerns and we expect the E.P.A. administrator to answer for them and we’ll keep you posted,” she stated.