In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Justice Department Criminal Division Chief John Cronan, the group of lawmakers argue that Pruitt repeatedly violated federal anti-corruption laws by using his position for personal gain, according to The Associated Press.
Pruitt acknowledged last month that friends and supporters had established a legal defense fund, which Democrats and ethics watchdogs quickly derided as a potential "tip jar" for polluters seeking favorable treatment from his agency.
"Scott Pruitt can not shift the blame for his scandals to his aides or career EPA employees, said Democratic Representative Don Beyer, a member of the House Natural Resources Committee". Although the fund would be useful if he faced a criminal investigation, ethics experts see it as potentially another ethical minefield, because federal law says he can not accept donations from donors whose business interests involve the EPA.
Pruitt also, as The Washington Post first reported, approached Matthew Swift, the chief executive of Concordia, a NY nonprofit, using EPA resources, and got his wife a $2,000 gig to help with logistics for the group's annual conference, where Pruitt was a speaker, Beyer wrote.
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"I mean, look, my wife is an entrepreneur herself". Pruitt, in a television interview Wednesday, didn't say whether he thought he had acted inappropriately.
Democratic senators this week accused Pruitt of withholding records of the trip, where Pruitt also met with USA and worldwide business leaders and former government officials. "Administrator Pruitt directly, and admittedly, used EPA resources to attempt to secure a job for his wife".
The lawmakers' letter also notes Pruitt's contact previous year with the leader of a NY nonprofit on his wife's behalf.
An EPA spokesperson told the Daily Beast, "EPA will not be commenting on anonymous sources who are working to distract Americans from Administrator Pruitt's accomplishments on regulatory certainty and environmental stewardship". "Further, his actions related to his wife's employment and the quid-pro-quo condo situation with industry lobbyists may have crossed a line into criminal conduct punishable by fines or even time in prison", they wrote.