Latest Pruitt Revelation Involves Chick-fil-A

EPA head used aide to help him as he tried to get his wife a franchisee position
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2018 3:52 PM CDT
Pruitt Used EPA Aide to Try to Get Wife Chick-fil-A Job
Supreme Court associate justice Samuel Alito, right, swears in Scott Pruitt as the EPA Administrator in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in the White House complex in Washington, Feb. 17, 2017. Holding the bible is Marlyn Pruitt, his wife; their son Cade is standing second from right.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The latest odd revelation in the saga of Scott Pruitt's activities since becoming the head of the Environmental Protection Agency: Pruitt at one point attempted to use "his official position and EPA staff" to get his wife a job, as the Washington Post puts it. That job? Chick-fil-A franchisee. As emails recently released under a Freedom of Information Act request reveal, Pruitt had his executive scheduler email the fast food company's chairman and president in May 2017 to ask if he'd be willing to meet with Pruitt and discuss "a potential business opportunity." Eventually, Pruitt talked to a rep from Chick-fil-A's legal department and explained that what he had in mind was his wife becoming a franchisee, a Chick-fil-A rep confirms to the Post. That never ended up happening, though Marlyn Pruitt did begin the franchisee application.

The FOIA request also reveals Scott Pruitt got in touch with the CEO of New York nonprofit Concordia and asked him to call his wife; the group ended up paying Marlyn Pruitt $2,000 and travel expenses for help organizing a conference at which Scott Pruitt spoke, though the CEO says the couple never "solicited a position for Mrs. Pruitt." Current and former EPA aides say Pruitt mentioned his eagerness for his wife to make money and his frustration with the increased cost of having two homes, one in Oklahoma and one in DC. It is a violation of federal ethics laws for a public official to use his position or staff for private gain or to have a staffer handle personal tasks, and a former head of the Office of Government Ethics says Pruitt's behavior on his wife's behalf could be a misuse of public office. Also Tuesday, the Government Accountability Office said it would investigate whether a tweet sent from the official EPA account constituted "partisan taunting," the AP reports. (Read more Scott Pruitt stories.)

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