Donald Trump’s first Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Scott Pruitt, has allegedly violated agency policies to use personal email for government business and contracts. According to newly released public records, Pruitt — who left the Trump administration after months of controversies surrounding is incredulous spending, including a $3.5 million security detail and more than a $92,000 in first-class air travel — used a private email account for work throughout several months, according to Sierra Club.
Sierra Club was one of the first large-scale environmental preservation organizations in the world. In its adherence to transparency and honesty, Sierra Club published the inner details of Pruitt’s professional experience while working under Trump.
Using personal emails rather than an assigned government email shields messages from public records and requests. Corresponding via his private email offers Pruitt an inappropriate level of anonymity when he’s supposed to be a public servant.
It’s worth noting that Trump repeatedly criticized Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign for using a private email account and server while she served as Secretary of State. Now several characters within Trump’s camp have done the same: Even Ivanka Trump was found to have used personal email accounts to send hundreds of emails about government businesses and contracts.
Elena Saxonhouse, the senior attorney for the Sierra Club, stated that Pruitt’s email use “treads into unlawfulness if he was using personal email to evade the Federal Records Act or [Freedom of Information Act].” Saxonhouse continues:
The fact that his personal emails weren’t provided to us until after he left could mean that he was actively trying to hide something or that he was just as cavalier about records policy as he was about all the other rules on government accountability and ethics. Both are bad.
In March 2017, Pruitt received an email from conservative television host Hugh Hewitt, offering to go easy on him in an interview on NBC. MSNBC later ended Hewitt’s show, following reports that he set up meetings with Pruitt for contacts in Orange County, California, while he was offering commentary defending him. Editors at the Washington Post, which still accepts pieces from Hewitt, also reprimanded him.