Are You an Oil Exec? Pruitt Would Love to Hire You at the EPA! (And Other Scandals)

Another day, another Scott Pruitt scandal. What’d the notorious Environmental Protection Agency director get caught doing this time? Oh, just recruiting big oil executives to take positions in the EPA in order to make his anti-environmental agenda run more smoothly. That’s what Buzzfeed News discovered after examining emails that the Sierra Club obtained via an FOIA request.

Pruitt’s emails reveal that almost immediately after taking over the EPA, Pruitt directly contacted oil corporations to ask for candidates to put in prominent staff positions at his agency. He didn’t just hire fossil fuel who came knocking, he straight up asked oil bigwigs to send him the résumés of employees that he could essentially borrow to help set – or more accurately setback – environmental policy.

The emails confirm that oil company ConocoPhillips complied with the request, even though the EPA ultimately didn’t hire either of the candidates the company put forward. One of those candidates, Kim Estes, confirmed to Buzzfeed that he had been considered, but never even had an in-person interview. “I applaud [the EPA] for at least looking outside the box,” said Estes. “I am not in the box at all. I’m somebody different. I’m not a Washington, D.C. insider.”

You’ve got to hand it to Estes – it is a really outside the box to consider putting someone who represented polluters in a job that would hold them accountable!

When asked about this situation, the former EPA director for George W. Bush, Christine Todd Whitman, said she used to receive so many applications that she never had to seek out employees. In particular, she acknowledged, “It would be highly unusual to go to a specific industry to try to recruit.” Highly unusual, indeed!

It doesn’t stop there – other emails show that the very same energy lobbyist who hooked up Pruitt with a super cheap luxury condo suggested that the EPA hire his friend and some other people that his client Smithfield Foods had recommended. One good favor deserves another, right?

Again, although the EPA apparently considered these suggestions, none of these people were hired. Lest that seem like some commendably ethical choice, understand that government ethics guidelines strongly discourage even having discussions of this nature just to avoid the appearance of something unethical; Pruitt and his staff did not follow those protocols in the slightest.

Ready for one more bit of Pruitt-related email drama? Amidst the email drops, it’s also come to light that during his first year on the job, Pruitt sent only one email to a non-EPA email account. While that in itself is not criminal, it’s also super implausible. How does a guy whose schedule is overflowing with meetings with fossil fuel companies not have any contact with these people?

That’s why many are speculating that Pruitt has been wrongfully using an alternate email server to conduct government business with those outside the EPA. (As Secretary Clinton could remind you, that sort of activity is unpopular with the public.) Considering that Pruitt did the same thing as Oklahoma’s attorney general – and even lied about it at his confirmation hearing – it hardly seems like a farfetched theory. What else is this man trying to hide?!

Take Action

The already strong case to boot Pruitt out of his government job has only strengthened with these more recent developments. Join nearly 40,000 other Care2 members in signing this petition demanding for Pruitt to be fired.


Photo credit: Thinkstock


Marie W
Marie W2 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Susanne R
Susanne R8 months ago

Pruitt won't be hiring anyone to work for him at the EPA. He resigned today! What a victory for justice, decency, and all the fine people who worked their tails off to get him out of office!

S M8 months ago

Corrupt! but America has had this coming driven by oil and gas corporations, .... which drives for war also.
The amoral is that Washington has the rest of the world suffer for its oil mania and so needs dominance.

Cathy B
Cathy B8 months ago

Thank you for posting.

David F
David F8 months ago

It would be terrible if the EPA didn't hire someone without experience, unsuccessful, broke and thought they could ban oil.

Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson8 months ago

Thank you!

Marty P
Marty P8 months ago

RK R...What the hell does Jerry Brown have to do with Pollutin Pruitt? At least read the story before you comment.

Cathy B
Cathy B8 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

Winnie A
Winn Adams8 months ago

He's below pond scum

Ruth S
Ruth S8 months ago