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EPA Chief Tells Angry Lawmakers He Has 'Nothing to Hide'


Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt testifies before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 26, 2018.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt told lawmakers who are angry about allegations of ethics and spending missteps during his tenure he had "nothing to hide" and added the accusations are meant to derail President Donald Trump's agenda.

"Let me be very clear: I have nothing to hide as it relates to how I've run the agency for the past 16 months," Pruitt told a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Pruitt added, "Those who attack the EPA and attack me are doing so because they want to attack and derail the president's agenda and undermine this administration's priorities. I'm simply not going to let that happen."

Legislators from both the Republican and Democratic parties lashed out at Pruitt. Democrat Frank Pallone told Pruitt, "You should resign and you are undeserving of public trust."

Pruitt went before two House of Representatives subcommittees for hearings about the agency's budget, and lawmakers sought answers about his spending on first-class air travel, his security detail and a lease of a room in Washington.

The Government Accountability Office said earlier this month the EPA violated the law when it approved a $43,000 soundproof privacy booth for Pruitt’s use.

Protesters hold up signs and shirts behind Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, accompanied by Holly Greaves, EPA chief financial officer, as they testify during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 26, 2018.
Protesters hold up signs and shirts behind Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, accompanied by Holly Greaves, EPA chief financial officer, as they testify during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 26, 2018.

The agency has defended the spending as necessary for Pruitt to be safe from public threats and to carry out confidential work.

Some Republican members of Congress have joined a much larger group of Democrats in calling for investigations into Pruitt’s actions and for his ouster.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump administration officials are “evaluating these concerns and we expect the EPA administrator to answer for them.”

Pruitt is one of President Donald Trump’s most controversial appointments and has done what he said he would when Trump named him to oversee the country’s environmental regulations - dismantle many of the restrictive policies on the environmental practices of businesses imposed by the administration of former president Barack Obama.

Trump has on several occasions given Pruitt a vote of confidence, including in early April when he said he thinks Pruitt has “done a fantastic job.”

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