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- Democrats have asked the EPA’s inspector general to investigate Scott Pruitt’s office for creating “secret calendars” that allegedly concealed events and meetings.
- The lawmakers want to probe whether the scrubbing of information from calendars violated federal records-keeping laws.
WASHINGTON – Democratic lawmakers are pushing the inspector general’s office to investigate whether Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt may have violated the Federal Records Act with the use of “secret calendars” meant to conceal parts of his day-to-day operations.
In a Tuesday report from CNN, Pruitt’s former deputy chief of staff for operations, Kevin Chmielewski, alleged that staffers at the EPA regularly convened to “scrub” unflattering meetings and events from Pruitt’s official calendar to avoid bad appearances.
“We would have meetings what we were going to take off on the official schedule. We had at one point three different schedules. One of them was one that no one else saw except three or four of us,” Chmielewski told CNN. “It was a secret … and they would decide what to nix from the public calendar.”
In a letter obtained by Business Insider, Reps. Don Beyer of Virginia and Ted Lieu of California are requesting the inspector general probe into what could be major violations of federal records-keeping laws.
“Willful concealment or destruction of such records is a federal crime carrying penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment,” the two Democrats wrote.
“Congress established and updated these laws because the American people deserve to know how their government is operated, and who is exerting influence over determinations which affect them,” they added. “We ask that you protect that public trust and establish whether Administrator Scott Pruitt violated the Federal Records Act, and if so, determine what he concealed and why. Further, we ask that you take the appropriate steps to hold him accountable for such actions, as required by law.”
Pruitt has been at the center of numerous scandals during tenure at the EPA. Still, the responses from the White House and Republicans in Congress have remained fairly tepid. Republicans have signaled they would not call for Pruitt’s ouster unless President Donald Trump does so first, which does not appear likely anytime soon.