Today’s News-Register editorial takes up the ethical questions surrounding the head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt. The editorial quickly dismisses the taxpayer’s money spent on his person security:
In directing what is a very politically incorrect campaign against some regulations, Pruitt is making many enemies. Consideration of security spending needs to be viewed in that light.
Of course, the editorial offers no details. The Associated Press and other news sources have, however. From an AP report:
The EPA official said total security costs approached $3 million when pay is added to travel expenses.
But what about the threat from what the editorial calls his “many enemies”? The AP investigated this and found:
A nationwide search of state and federal court records by AP found no case where anyone has been arrested or charged with threatening Pruitt. EPA’s press office did not respond Friday to provide details of any specific threats or arrests.
And of course, Pruitt flies first-class to protect him from the rabble crowd in coach who might do him harm. As the editorial tells us:
Pruitt has said his use of first-class airfare was initiated following unpleasant interactions with other travelers. In one incident, someone yelled a profanity as he walked through the airport.
Oh, the horror! Except, as the AP explains:
But on weekend trips home for Sooners football games, when taxpayers weren't paying for his ticket, the EPA official said Pruitt flew coach.
But what about the $50 a night townhouse rental? Here, the News-Register gets tough (by N-R standards) on Pruitt noting that
he should be held to an appropriate ethics standard.
If he has crossed the line on that, he should be held accountable.
“If”? Here’s John Oliver using Fox News to question Pruitt ethics:
Yes, when it comes to Scott Pruitt even Fox News has standards. But all that the News-Register can do is make excuses for him and hedge.
A final thought: imagine the Ogden outrage had Pruitt been a part of a Democratic administration.
April 10 Update -- Up for re-election, Joe Manchin looks the other way on Pruitt's ethics
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) says he has no regrets about his vote last year to confirm embattled Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt.
“The decision has been made. It’s been good for West Virginia, as far as [he] helped my state,” Manchin told HuffPost on Monday. “I agree with some of his decisions. We’ve had a good working relationship.”
Still, Manchin said that his confirmation vote “doesn’t excuse anybody for not being accountable and held responsible for how they operate their office.”
Manchin's "accountable" and "responsible" sound a lot like the News-Register editorial: they're both theoretically in favor of them.