- Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt cited a need for more Chick-fil-A franchises in his hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma as an explanation for using EPA staff to help his wife get a job with the company.
- The Washington Post reported Tuesday that a Pruitt aide reached out to Chick-fil-A’s president on behalf of Pruitt and his wife.
- Pruitt is the subject of a dozen investigations into alleged abuses of his power as EPA administrator.
On Wednesday, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt tried to explain away a report released the day before, alleging that he violated federal ethics laws by enlisting government staffers in an attempt to get his wife a job managing a franchise of fast-food chain Chick-fil-A.
When pressed by reporter Jessica Smith, Pruitt responded, “My wife is an entrepreneur herself. I loves, she loves, we love Chick-fil-A as a franchise of faith and it’s one of the best in the country and so, that’s something we were very excited about. And we need more of them in Tulsa, we need more of them across the country. So anyway, it’s an exciting time.”
A spokeswoman for the company told The Washington Post that EPA executive scheduler Sydney Hupp reached out to Dan Cathy, the president and chairman of Chick-fil-A, to set up a call with Pruitt to discuss an unspecified “business opportunity.”
Pruitt later revealed to the company’s legal department that the opportunity was not for the EPA, but for his wife, Maryln. Pruitt wanted to look into getting her a Chick-fil-A franchise of her own to manage in order to help cover the cost of running households in Washington, DC and in their home state of Oklahoma.
These new revelations add on to other allegations that Pruitt deputized EPA staffers to carry out his personal business on official time, in violation of federal ethics standards.
Another EPA executive scheduler testified to congressional investigators that in her role working for Pruitt, she spent two months helping him find a new apartment and booked several of his family vacations.
Pruitt is currently the focus of twelve separate ethics probes into his abuse of government resources, excessive spending, and conflicts of interest. Sen. Joni Ernst, a Republican from Iowa, called Pruitt “about as swampy as you get here in Washington, D.C” on Tuesday.