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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Two top Pruitt aides leave EPA abruptly as ethics investigations heat up

    Two top Pruitt aides leave EPA abruptly as ethics investigations heat up


    May 1, 2018, 11:02 PM ET

    WATCHEPA whistleblower says Scott Pruitt 'lied'

    As investigations into alleged ethical misconduct at the Environmental Protection Agency heat up, two high-ranking aides to administrator Scott Pruitt have abruptly left their jobs this week.

    Democrats have raised questions about spending and security decisions made by the head of Pruitt's security team, Nino Perrotta, as well as about the professional background of Albert Kelly, a senior advisor to Pruitt who he put in charge of a task force on the agency's Superfund sites.

    Perrotta is expected to be questioned by the House Oversight Committee Wednesday.

    Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., who has raised questions about both Kelly and Perrotta, said in a statement that the departures show the extent of the problems at EPA.

    “Scott Pruitt should be the next to go. The exodus of Pruitt’s closest aides shows just how toxic his reign at EPA has become," Beyer said in a statement.

    The EPA did not respond to multiple requests for comment from ABC News. The agency confirmed that Perrotta and Kelly both left the agency this week in statements to multiple news outlets.

    In a congressional hearing last week, Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., asked Pruitt if he would order Kelly to testify before Congress after he canceled a previous appearance.

    Peters said he wanted Kelly to answer questions about the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) banning him from the banking industry. Other Democrats have asked the EPA to answer questions about whether Kelly’s banking background was considered when he was vetted for the position.

    Kelly signed a consent decree with the FDIC, an independent agency that regulates the financial industry, in August, that said he would be banned from work in banking for life, according to The Oklahoman and other news outlets. That agreement was signed three months after he was announced as the head of the EPA's superfund task force, according to a press release.

    Pruitt said in the hearing that he thinks Kelly should answer questions from Congress.

    Peters also referenced reports that Kelly owns property adjacent to a Superfund site in Oklahoma and said he wants to know if EPA ethics officials reviewed that as a possible conflict of interest. E&E News reported last year that Kelly, who was put in charge of an effort to streamline the Superfund program, has personal experience with the contaminated sites because there is one in his hometown and close to land owned by his family.

    The New York Times also reported that Kelly had financial dealings with Pruitt when they were both living and working in Oklahoma.

    Kelly did not respond to request for comment from ABC News. His resignation was first reported by Axios.

    Perrotta is a former Secret Service agent whose career in law enforcement included a stint investigating the Gambino crime family for the Bronx district attorney in New York City, led Pruitt’s 24-hour security detail, putting him at the center of several of the ethics and spending episodes under review by the EPA inspector general and congressional investigators.

    In a phone interview Tuesday morning, Perrotta, who said he left his job at the EPA Monday, said he plans to "fully cooperate and answer any and all questions" from Congress, starting with the transcribed interview with the House Oversight Committee Wednesday.

    "All of this press is taking a toll on my family. I decided to move on and it’s been an honor to serve," he said.

    The New York Times previously reported that Perrotta planned to retire from EPA this summer.

    An EPA spokesman declined to comment on the transcribed interview and did not respond to repeated requests for comment on Perrotta's departure.

    In an exclusive interview with ABC News, former EPA Deputy Chief of Staff Kevin Chmielewski, a whistleblower who said he was forced out of the agency after raising concerns about travel and security spending, said Perrotta threatened to come to his home to take away his EPA parking pass, and worked to discredit him for questioning Pruitt’s spending on travel and security.

    Senate Democrats also recently said in a letter that Chmielewski told them Perrotta hired Italian security guards to protect Pruitt on a trip to Italy in June 2017.

    Private Italian security guards hired by Perrotta helped arrange an expansive motorcade for Pruitt and his entourage, according to the EPA official with direct knowledge of the trip. The source described the Italian additions as a personal friend of Perrotta, who joined Pruitt and his EPA staff for an hours-long dinner at an upscale restaurant.

    Democrats have also raised questions about Perrotta’s potential role in the awarding of an EPA security contract.
    Edwin Steinmetz, his business partner at Sequoia Security Group -- the Maryland security firm where he is a partner –- received a contract to sweep Pruitt’s office for listening devices, according to The Associated Press.

    In the phone interview Tuesday, Perrotta denied ever threatening Chmielewski when asking for his EPA parking pass.

    "There was no threat made on the phone at all," he said, adding that the exchange was memorialized in written form and that another EPA agent and a White House official were on the phone as well.

    He also said there is "no truth" to concerns that he improperly steered an EPA security contract to a business associate.
    Steinmetz also told ABC on Tuesday that there was nothing improper about the contract and Perrotta is "probably one of the most honest folks I've met in Washington. He said much of the criticism is just "political BS."

    "If there was something legitimate here I understand it, but having worked for both sides I see the hypocrisy here," Steinmetz said.

    In an appearance on CBS News' "Face the Nation" Sunday, House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., whose staff has already interviewed Chmielewski, confirmed that the committee is scheduling transcribed interviews with Perrotta and a number of top Pruitt aides after requesting them in a letter to the EPA last month.

    Late last week the committee also received more than 1,000 pages of documents related to Pruitt's first-class travel, trips to Italy and Morocco and controversial condo rental agreement.

    "We're going to do it the way I'm used to doing it -- gather the documents, interview the witnesses and then share it at the appropriate time," Gowdy said Sunday.
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  2. #2
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    Don’t Put a DowDupont Lawyer in Charge of Cleaning up Dow’s Toxic Waste Dumps!

    Take Action:
    Peter C. Wright is a lawyer who has spent his entire career helping Monsanto and Dow avoid cleaning up their toxic pollution.

    Now, Trump wants to put Wright in charge of—guess what?—forcing companies like Monsanto and Dow to clean up their toxic pollution.

    TAKE ACTION: Please tell your Senators to stand up for the environment by voting against Peter C. Wright.

    Trump has tapped lawyer Peter Wright, to serve as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) assistant administrator for Land and Emergency Management—the office that oversees the Superfund hazardous waste cleanup program.

    Wright’s current employer, DowDuPont, is listed as the responsible party for more than 100 toxic Superfund sites that the EPA is trying to get cleaned up across the nation.

    Wright has a long history of being on the wrong side of the chemical safety debate. One of his favorite defense strategies is to argue that dioxin, a known carcinogen and Monsanto and Dow pollutant, isn’t really as bad as the EPA makes it out to be—even though scientists place dioxin “among the most toxic chemicals known to man.”

    And dioxins can end up in the food supply. The Michigan Department of Agriculture reports:

    Low levels of dioxins are found throughout the environment as a by-product of combustion and chemical production processes. They can be detected in air, soil, water, sediment, fish and other foods like meat and dairy products. Some dioxins may be toxic and have the ability to cause illness or adverse health effects.

    Wright dismisses reports that exposure to dioxins poses a health risk. He even published an article in a law journal, “Twenty-five Years of Dioxin Cancer Risk Assessment,” where he contradicts the World Health Organization and EPA, claiming that:
    Over the last twenty-five years, dioxin has joined DDT, PCBs, lead, and mercury as an iconic environmental chemical. Yet, there is meager evidence that exposure to dioxin at the trace levels encountered in the environment has caused any observable harm to the short- or long-term health of the human population. Dioxin is unique in many respects because it is highly toxic to a variety of animal species but not to humans. Indeed, as has been widely reported, an exceedingly high dose of dioxin was not fatal to the current president of the Ukraine.
    Wright’s “alternative facts” about dioxin go against well-established science. Only someone who spent his career working for DowDuPont could use the dioxin poisoning of Viktor Yushchenko to make the case that dioxin isn’t highly toxic to humans. It was widely reported at the time that “just six drops of pure dioxin in Yushchenko's soup could have been enough to produce his symptoms - just a couple more would have killed him.”

    A toxic legacy

    One of the tragic results of Wright’s work on behalf of Dow is the breast cancer cluster in Midland, Michigan, home to Dow’s global headquarters. Residents there are exposed to the highest levels of dioxin pollution in the country. Yet Dow continues to block cancer victims’ efforts to seek justice. And, Wright is proud of that!

    According to Wright’s LinkedIn page, prior to joining DowDuPont in 1999, Wright was an “environmental attorney” for Monsanto from 1989 to 1996.

    If you’ve followed our Monsanto Makes Me Sick campaign, you know about the health risks of exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.

    What hasn’t gotten as much attention is that the process of making glyphosate generates waste and pollution that is as toxic, or even more toxic, than the herbicide itself.

    Glyphosate is produced from elemental phosphorous that is mined from phosphate rock buried below ground. This mining process generates a carcinogenic radioactive by-product known as phosphorous slag.

    Since the 1950s, Monsanto has obtained its phosphate from mines in Idaho, near the town of Soda Springs. This small community of about 3,000 people became a Superfund site in 1990, during the time Wright was Monsanto’s Superfund attorney. Harmful onsite pollutants include cadmium, selenium, and radioactive radium all of which can cause serious health problems, including cancer, in humans.

    ‘Not under control’

    The EPA calls Superfund sites that haven't been cleaned up "not under control." Monsanto’s Soda Springs site is a shocking example.

    The EPA has never required Monsanto to stop mining, so the pollution in Soda Springs continues. “Contaminants of concern” continue to leach into the town’s groundwater.

    In a 2017 investigation, Bart Elmore, an environmental historian at Ohio State University, described the scene at Monsanto’s Soda Springs slag dump (pictured on this page):
    I stood just beyond a barbed-wire fence at about nine o’clock at night and watched as trucks dumped molten red heaps of radioactive refuse over the edge of what is fast becoming a mountain of waste. This dumping happened about every fifteen minutes, lighting up the night sky. Horses grazed in a field just a few dozen yards away, glowing in the radiating rays coming from the lava-like sludge. Rows of barley, for Budweiser beer, waved in the distance.
    Since 1996, “an estimated 600 head of livestock, including horses, cattle, and sheep, have died after ingesting plants or surface water containing high concentrations of selenium.”

    In 2015, Monsanto reported mercury emissions topping 875 pounds, as much as a good-sized coal-fired power plant.

    A dirty career

    This is Wright’s dirty work. He has proudly made a career helping Monsanto and DowDuPont avoid cleaning up their toxic waste—now Trump wants him to be in charge of that project for the entire country, including all of the sites that Dow and Monsanto poisoned with dioxin contamination in the process of making and storing Agent Orange.

    Not only that, but Wright, like many other appointees at federal agencies under Trump, will likely be granted an “ethics waiver” that will allow him to decide how the EPA deals with these Superfund sites he defended for Monsanto and DowDuPont.

    TAKE ACTION: Please tell your Senators to stand up for the environment by voting against Peter C. Wright.
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  3. #3
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    Ex-Lobbyist for Foreign Governments Helped Plan Pruitt Trip to Australia

    A number of people from outside the government have worked to influence foreign travel by Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency chief.CreditPete Marovich for The New York TimesBy Lisa Friedman, Eric Lipton and Kenneth P. Vogel

    May 2, 2018

    WASHINGTON — A Washington consultant who was removed from President Trump’s transition team for using his business email address for government work played a central role last year in planning a trip to Australia for Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and then took steps to disguise his role, new documents show.

    The consultant, Matthew C. Freedman, who is also a former lobbyist for foreign governments, runs his own corporate advisory firm and is treasurer of the American Australian Council, a group that helps promote business for American-based companies in Australia. Two prominent members include Chevron and ConocoPhillips.

    Though the Australia trip never happened — it was canceled after Hurricane Harvey devastated much of the Texas Gulf Coast — it shows a pattern in which Mr. Pruitt has repeatedly relied on people with clear business interests to shape the agenda of his foreign travel. Separately last year, a trip to Morocco was organized by a lobbyist who later was hired by Morocco as a $40,000-a-month foreign agent to represent its interests abroad.

    Mr. Freedman has spent decades as an international political consultant and lobbyist, starting in the 1980s as an employee of Paul Manafort when the two men worked together to help the embattled Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

    Mr. Manafort later became Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman, and many of his former lobbying associates entered Mr. Trump’s orbit, with some remaining in influential positions well after Mr. Manafort resigned from the campaign amid scrutiny of his work for Russia-aligned Ukrainian politicians. Mr. Manafort has since been indicted on charges related to that work by the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.

    Mr. Freedman worked on Mr. Trump’s transition team in late 2016 on national security-related issues. He was removed after conducting government business using an email address associated with his consulting firm, Global Impact Inc., which fed the impression that he was using his position with the transition team to drum up business, according to an adviser to the transition.

    Matthew C. Freedman

    More recently, Mr. Freedman advised Mr. Trump’s new national security adviser, John R. Bolton, as he prepared to take office, according to two people familiar with the arrangement. They said that he had worked as a special government employee during the Trump administration — a position that allowed him to maintain his outside consulting business while working for the federal government.

    Mr. Freedman declined to comment. A statement he provided to The New York Times from the American Australian Council said that the group had authorized him to have discussions with the E.P.A. about the possible trip to Australia, “to further the mission” of the organization.

    Mr. Pruitt still has the support of Mr. Trump, a top White House official said Tuesday, despite the fact that Mr. Pruitt faces 11 investigations into his spending and management practices at the E.P.A.

    Jahan Wilcox, a spokesman for Mr. Pruitt, said that the agency’s staff was in charge of planning the Australia trip and that Mr. Freedman’s involvement began in mid-2017.

    However, emails released recently under the Freedom of Information Act to the Sierra Club, which sued to obtain the documents, appear to contradict that. The emails indicate Mr. Freedman was involved in early March, just weeks after Mr. Pruitt was confirmed as the E.P.A. chief, in coming up with reasons to justify a trip by Mr. Pruitt to Australia.

    Representative Don Beyer, Democrat of Virginia, who has been critical of Mr. Pruitt’s spending, said the emails help to document allegations raised by Mr. Pruitt’s former chief of staff, Kevin Chmielewski, who had questioned Mr. Pruitt’s travel spending before being pushed out of the agency earlier this year.

    “Pruitt’s trips began with Pruitt ordering staff to ‘find me something to do’ to justify his expensive travel,” Mr. Beyer said, quoting Mr. Chmielewski. Mr. Beyer said that the emails “also reveal that lobbyists for energy companies and foreign governments acted as travel agents.”

    The Australian embassy said in a statement that it was unaware that Mr. Freedman had been working to arrange the trip, and that neither Mr. Freedman nor his company “has been engaged to represent Australia.” The embassy added that the American Australian Council, for which Mr. Freedman serves as treasurer, “is an independent organization that does not represent the Australian government.”

    Mr. Freedman advises global corporations seeking to break into the Australian business market, according to someone familiar with his work.

    Mr. Freedman frequently discussed the possible Australia trip with another lobbyist, Richard Smotkin, who has longstanding ties to Mr. Pruitt. Mr. Smotkin also helped organize Mr. Pruitt’s December trip to Morocco, and then four months later signed the $40,000-a-month contract to represent an arm of the government of that North African country.

    Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said in a statement, “It’s no wonder these emails had to be forced out by a court: They expose the fact that corporate lobbyists are orchestrating Pruitt’s taxpayer-funded trips to push their dangerous agendas.”

    The emails with Mr. Freedman were among a collection of 6,337 pages of correspondence between corporate representatives and top political appointees at the E.P.A. Most were sent to Millan Hupp, a top political aide to Mr. Pruitt. Ms. Hupp also worked with Mr. Pruitt as a political assistant when he was Oklahoma’s attorney general.

    Ms. Hupp served as a gatekeeper for Mr. Pruitt with companies and organizations interested in getting on his calendar or inviting him to an event, the emails indicate. Those companies have included the coal producer Peabody Energy and Koch Industries, the conglomerate controlled by the billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, as well as dozens of others, with a particular emphasis on fossil-fuel-related firms and chemical industry and agriculture groups such as the American Farm Bureau.

    Mr. Freedman is not registered as a lobbyist for the government of Australia, nor is he currently registered to lobby on behalf of any foreign or domestic clients in the United States, according to records on file with Congress and the Department of Justice. They show that a now-inactive firm he had formed with Mr. Manafort was last registered to lobby in the late 1990s, when it represented the government of Nigeria and the Argentine politician Alberto Pierri.
    Mr. Freedman’s associates say he continues to advise international clients in various capacities that do not trigger lobbying disclosure requirements.

    In the emails, Mr. Freedman offered Ms. Hupp a series of suggestions as to whom Mr. Pruitt could meet with on the trip to Australia. Mr. Freedman said he had already been talking to top government officials there to get the planning started.

    “I’ve been in direct contact with the Minister in Aus, and we will be speaking with his senior staffer (Cosi) who is the lead from their side on Monday night,” Mr. Freedman wrote to Ms. Hupp in late June, as the planning for the trip got underway. “Also, Jim Carouso, the Charge at the US Emb in Canberra is a close personal friend and would likely have good inputs, but I want to wait a bit before I contact him.”

    In a separate email, he suggested Mr. Pruitt meet with top Australian officials including Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. And he went on to suggest topics that could be discussed at the meeting, including “the current US Australian environmental agreements that are currently in place and whether they should be changed or updated or canceled or replaced.”

    Mr. Freedman placed a condition on the assistance he was providing: His involvement should not be disclosed. “Rick and I will be present but not listed as members of the delegation,” Mr. Freedman wrote, referring to Mr. Smotkin.
    Ms. Hupp’s input in these email exchanges was short, with notes back to Mr. Freedman like “Sounds good. We will plan for Monday morning,” in response to a request in July from Mr. Freedman to discuss the Australia trip.

    The exchanges showed an awareness that traveling to Australia would have its complexities, given that Mr. Pruitt is a climate change skeptic.

    “There are challenges to a visit,” Mr. Freedman wrote in one March 2017 memo, as the debate over the trip first started. “It would highlight the Australian Government aggressive support for policies that may not be in sync with the Trump Administration, and the strong financial role played by the Australian Government in protecting the environment.”

    Later, on July 18, Mr. Freedman wrote to Ms. Hupp to say that Mr. Pruitt should be prepared for a “confused and angry group of Aussies” who were likely to disagree with Mr. Trump’s policies.
    On climate change specifically, Mr. Freedman wrote that he had been in touch with the executive director of the Institute of Public Affairs, an Australian think tank that he described as being “aligned with the Trump vision on various issues” including coal and deregulation. Mr. Freedman said he planned to suggest more people Mr. Pruitt should meet through that organization.

    The emails released to the Sierra Club also provide further documentation of the role that Mr. Smotkin played in setting up Mr. Pruitt’s December visit to Morocco. Ms. Hupp turned to Mr. Smotkin in September to set up a meeting with the Moroccan ambassador to the United States.

    “Would you be so kind as to pass along these three dates as potential for a meeting with the Moroccan Minister?” Ms. Hupp wrote to Mr. Smotkin. He agreed to do so, and wrote back to correct the title: “Will do. It is the ambassador.”

    Though the trip to Australia was ultimately canceled, vouchers previously released by the E.P.A. show that two aides and three security officials spent about $45,000 traveling there to set up meetings and prepare for Mr. Pruitt’s arrival.
    Last edited by artist; 05-02-2018 at 09:30 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Pruitt’s Coziness With Lobbyists Includes Secretly Buying a House With One

    By Hiroko Tabuchi and Steve Eder

    May 3, 2018
    Since moving to Washington, Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, has attracted the attention of federal investigators because of his unusual association with lobbyists, including his rental of a condominium last year owned by the wife of a lobbyist with business before the E.P.A.

    As a state senator in Oklahoma 15 years ago, Mr. Pruitt went even further: He bought a home in the state capital with a registered lobbyist who was pushing for changes to the state’s workers’ compensation rules — changes that Mr. Pruitt championed in the legislature.
    And as with the condominium rental in Washington, Mr. Pruitt never publicly disclosed his financial relationship with the lobbyist, who, like Mr. Pruitt, lived in the home when in Oklahoma City on business.

    The Oklahoma City house was registered to a shell company owned by Mr. Pruitt; Justin Whitefield, a lobbyist; and four other associates.CreditBrett Deering for The New York Times'

    The lobbyist, Justin Whitefield, represented as many as a dozen organizations, including some that sought business-friendly changes to Oklahoma’s workers’ compensation rules.

    Mr. Pruitt pressed for the changes, often bemoaning the high costs to businesses of the existing rules and suggesting that lawyers were enriching themselves off the system. Another of Mr. Pruitt’s business partners, Robert Funk, who owned a local baseball team with him, ran a large staffing company that would benefit from relaxed rules; he also joined Mr. Pruitt in pushing for the changes.

    The home in Oklahoma City was registered to a shell company owned by Mr. Pruitt, Mr. Whitefield and four other associates. The New York Times reported last month that the house was bought at a steep discount from a lobbyist, Marsha Lindsey, who worked for a telecommunications company with business before the Oklahoma state legislature.

    Mr. Pruitt’s business relationship with Mr. Whitefield has not been previously reported. A spokesman for the E.P.A. said that Mr. Whitefield held a one-sixth stake in the company and had “received taxable income” from it. Two of the other owners, The Times previously reported, were Kenneth Wagner, a law school friend of Mr. Pruitt’s who now holds a top political job at the E.P.A., and Jon Jiles, a health care executive who contributed to Mr. Pruitt’s political campaigns.

    Mr. Whitefield lobbied for changes to Oklahoma’s workers’ compensation rules — changes that Mr. Pruitt championed as a state lawmaker.“Whitefield was a practicing lawyer who had business in Oklahoma City,” said the spokesman, Jahan Wilcox. “Pruitt was a practicing lawyer and a part-time legislator who only stayed in the house when he was in Oklahoma City for business.”
    Mr. Whitefield died in a plane crash in 2006. A relative confirmed to the The Times that he had shared the home with Mr. Pruitt.

    Mr. Pruitt is now facing 11 federal investigations into matters including his condominium rental in Washington and his spending on travel and security at the E.P.A. The Times reported on Tuesday that Mr. Pruitt had allowed another lobbyist friend to play an unusually central role in arranging his agenda during a visit to Morocco in December. Just months after the trip, the Moroccan government hired the lobbyist, Richard Smotkin, as a $40,000-a-month foreign agent.

    Mr. Pruitt, Mr. Whitefield and the other investors in the shell company bought the Oklahoma City home in December 2003 for $375,000, a discount of about $100,000 from what Ms. Lindsey had paid a year earlier. Her employer, the telecom giant SBC Oklahoma, now AT&T and formerly known as Southwestern Bell, used a relocation firm to handle the sale and picked up the shortfall under her retirement package. AT&T said the home had been appraised twice, for an average value of $390,000, before the sale.

    The agenda for Mr. Pruitt’s visit to Morocco in December was also influenced by his lobbyist ties.CreditEnvironmental Protection AgencyA month later, in January 2004, Mr. Pruitt held a news conference at the State Capitol to announce a bill that he said would reduce workers’ compensation costs for businesses by eliminating unnecessary litigation.
    In a news release, he cited figures from the National Council on Compensation Insurance, a workers’ compensation industry group, which said his proposal would save employers in Oklahoma at least $100 million. At the time, Mr. Whitefield was a lobbyist for the group, according to state disclosures.

    Mr. Whitefield later became a registered lobbyist for Oklahomans for Workers’ Compensation Reform, a political committee co-chaired by Mr. Funk, the businessman who owned the minor league baseball team with Mr. Pruitt and several others.
    Mr. Funk attended the news conference in January 2004, and a February 2005 update from the political committee, co-written by Mr. Funk, noted Mr. Pruitt’s work on legislation that would cut “litigation and the expensive cost drivers that are present in our lawyer-rich system.”

    The workers’ compensation battle played out for years in Oklahoma, and news reports at the time referred to Mr. Pruitt as a leading Republican in dealing with Democrats and the governor’s office on the issue. Ultimately, after a partisan struggle, a compromise bill was signed into law in June 2005, with Mr. Pruitt as a main negotiator.

    Mr. Pruitt described the outcome as “a small step in the right direction,” according to a report at the time in The Journal Record, a business and legal newspaper in Oklahoma. But when he ran for lieutenant governor in 2006, he cited his efforts on workers’ compensation among his main achievements. Mr. Funk served as the chairman of that unsuccessful campaign.

    When Mr. Pruitt left the State Senate that year, his fellow lawmakers applauded his advocacy on workers’ compensation. In his parting remarks, Mr. Pruitt told colleagues: “I’ve always tried to approach what we do here in this body with a commitment to sound policy and trying to do things for the right reason. I believe that good politics is doing the right thing.”
    Mr. Pruitt and the other investors in the shell company — Capitol House L.L.C. — sold the Oklahoma City house in 2005 for $470,000. It is unclear whether any of the proceeds went to Mr. Pruitt. The group also had at least one paying tenant, Jim Dunlap, then a Republican leader in the State Senate, who said he rented a room above the garage.

    The Behavior That Put Scott Pruitt at the Center of Federal Inquiries

    Mr. Jiles, the investor who is listed as manager of Capitol House, said in an email that each investor owned 16.66 percent of the company, and while none of them lived permanently in the house, they all had a right to stay there. The company, he said, should not be referred to as a shell company since it “acquired assets consisting of the house and its furnishings and incurred liabilities, filed tax returns and issued K-1’s to it’s members as required by law” — a reference the tax form known as a Schedule K-1.

    “Nothing about the transaction, Capital House, L.L.C. or the investment was unusual, inappropriate, illegal or otherwise objectionable to anyone involved on either side of the transaction,” Mr. Jiles said.
    At a hearing last week in Washington of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, lawmakers asked Mr. Pruitt about the house purchase and the use of a shell company — a lawful practice that is often used to obscure the people who have a financial interest in it, and typically is set up as a limited liability company. Mr. Pruitt’s name does not appear on any public documents related to the company; nor does Mr. Whitefield’s.

    Mr. Pruitt said the company was not a shell company, but a limited liability company.
    “Which is normally how you buy real estate in Oklahoma,” he said.
    Last edited by artist; 05-03-2018 at 05:13 PM.
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  5. #5
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